Kampala — International Police (Interpol) have arrested Kampala socialite Sulaiman Kabangala Mbuga in connection to 53m Kronor (about Shs23 billion) that his Swedish wife allegedly fleeced from a company account she jointly ran with her former boyfriend in Sweden, according to sources here and abroad.
The sources told Daily Monitor that SK Mbuga was arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Sunday morning. The information could not be independently verified.
The Director of Interpol Uganda, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Fred Yiga could not confirm the arrest but said he had received information about it from some people who approached him for assistance.
"We do not have him on our Interpol list," Yiga said, but added that he had received some Ugandans who were seeking his help about SK Mbuga's arrest in Dubai and gave them some advice.
"I have advised them to get their lawyers and go and sort it out in Dubai," Mr Yiga told Daily Monitor.
Efforts to get a comment from the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Kampala about the matter were fruitless as the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (International Affairs), Mr Henry Oryem Okello's cellular line was engaged every time we called.
Our attempts to reach our embassy in Denmark were not fruitful either.
Interpol and the FBI have been hunting Mbuga who is better known as SK Mbuga, aged 34, together with his Swedish wife Angella Vivienne Chebet, 33.
An Interpol source in Kampala, who declined to be named, and other sources in Dubai said SK Mbuga was expected to be flown to Stockholm, Sweden, yesterday to answer some queries regarding the alleged fraud.
It is alleged the money belonged to Chebet and her former Swedish boyfriend, businessman Sten Heinsoo.
"Interpol has been looking for him and they arrested him in Dubai on Sunday morning," said an Interpol source who declined to be named.
SK Mbuga was allegedly trying to sneak out of the United Arab Emirates after receiving prior information that he was being hunted by Interpol.
The sources said SK Mbuga had been living in Dubai under the impression that authorities there would not hand him over to the Swedish administration because there was no case against him in particular.
However, Mbuga's attempted escape back to Uganda was cut short when he was arrested at the airport.
The fate or whereabouts of his wife Ms Chebet are still unclear. Ms Chebet had been arrested and charged in a Swedish court in February last year but she later disappeared and ran back to Uganda.
Recently, the Swedish media reported that the Swedish government had requested for assistance from the Uganda government to have SK Mbuga and his wife Chebet arrested. Uganda and Sweden do not have an extradition treaty between them.
"As stated in the preliminary investigation, a request for legal assistance to Uganda has been sent, which has not yet been answered," the Swedish Chamber prosecutor Mathias Lidberg's was quoted by a media outlet in Sweden last year.
The request was made after Swedish police investigations linked Mbuga to the fraudulent transfer of the money.
Mbuga and Chebet have been living in luxury in Uganda. They owned a string of houses in Kampala and luxury sports cars and enjoyed exclusive private parties.
Chebet and her former boyfriend Heinsoo met in 2015 and they started a relationship that resulted into co-founding a company to trade in gold.
Information says Mbuga posed as Chebet's brother and she used her powers in the company to transfer 53m Kronor (Swedish currency) to Mbuga's accounts in Uganda.
The money in question was being held in trust by Heinsoo, a politician.
The money belonged to Heinsoo's former employer Einar Matsson, a real estate mogul in Sweden.
Heinsoo has already appeared before a Swedish court where he pleaded that he had lost the money when he tried to help a female friend to transport gold from Uganda to Sweden.
Heinsoo was in early January charged with gross negligence for breaching the principals of trust.
Chebet too was charged in absentia by the Stockholm District Court with several counts of gross fraud committed against Heinsoo.
During interrogation, Heinsoo told police that Chebet told him that her wealthy father in Uganda had died and left behind a large gold stock which was both difficult and costly to transport to Sweden. Heinsoo offered to help her financially to facilitate the transfer of the purported gold to Sweden and be refunded after selling.
He allegedly unlawfully used his trustees' money hoping that he would pay back after the sale.
In February last year, Chebet returned to Sweden and was arrested but despite the state prosecutor Lidberg's request to detain her, the District Court released her upon consideration that it was possible to monitor her with a travel ban. However she later disappeared.
In November 2016, just two weeks after Heinsoo had made the last money transfer, SK Mbuga and Chebet organised an lavish wedding.