Ugandan Musician Nambala Arrested With 48 Passports At Sheraton Hotel

Handcuffs.
22 February 2021

Local female musician Ameria Nambala is under investigation after she was found in possession of 48 genuine passports whose owners can't be traced.

Nambala was arrested from Sheraton Hotel Kampala on Friday by plain-clothed security personnel from the presidential guards, Special Forces Command (SFC) and Internal Security Organisations (ISO).

Crime intelligence and investigators at Kampala Central police station (CPS) where Nambala is being held since Friday say the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and External Security Organisation (ESO) have joined the probe purposely to establish where the owners of the passports are.

Deputy Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire, says Nambala has so far failed to present the owners of the passports she claims she was taking for a trip to Turkey. Security agencies have vowed to keep her in custody as a file of human trafficking is being prepared unless she produces the owners of the passports.

"We have asked her to produce the owners but she seems not to know where they are. These are genuine passports and owners must be produced. We must know whether something wrong was done about them or not. We opened a file on SD 58/19/2/2021," Owoyesigyire said.

According to security sources, the suspect would have been slapped with charges of forgery if the passports were fake. The investigators have so preferred charges related to human trafficking, which can change at any time should security agencies establish that anything wrong was done to the owners.

"We are four security agencies in this case and we have orders to ensure we establish what happened to all the 48 people. You can't be taking people for a trip and you fail to account for them," a security source said.

Police sources have revealed that they received intelligence information on Thursday evening that a woman was in possession of several passports belonging to different individuals for unknown reasons.

Earlier information indicated that the suspect was going to meet the passport owners at Kampala Serena hotel. But the phone signals switched to Nile Avenue where the Sheraton hotel is located. A team was hastily sent to Sheraton where she was arrested alongside her colleague, Esther Nassali.

"We suspect these passports were stolen from owners or they were confiscated from people smuggled out of the country. We also have reason to suspect that owners could have died. All these investigation lines can be ruled out only if these suspects show us the owners," an intelligence officer said.

Crime records at CPS have revealed that Nambala was arrested in August 2019 over allegations of fraud. At that time, she was dragged to CPS by Andrew Sekandi, accusing her of defrauding him out of Shs 7 million according to a statement that was recorded vide police file 30/09/08/2019.

Sekandi alleged that Nambala had approached him claiming that she was taking people for jobs in Sweden. Sekandi said Nambala charged him Shs 7 million to secure visas for the children but she didn't fulfil her promise.

One of the most popular songs sang by Nambala is Kabila Kange, a love song where she warns women to dare not tamper with her husband. The song is commonly played at traditional functions such as weddings because of its traditional Luganda beats known as Enggoma Uganda.

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