Police hold Italian national over fake gold deal

An Italian national, Franco Corona, is at the centre of a police investigation into fake gold deals that had forced him to fake a kidnap.

Corona has been twice duped by Congolese gold dealers the first time being in March this year when the Congolese sold him fake gold nuggets, a police investigation has revealed.

The police were drawn to the scam on Thursday last week after Corona’s mother, 91-year-old Mirella Corona made a distress call to the police about his son who had been “kidnapped and tortured” by suspected gold dealers.

A statement by Police spokesman Fred Enanga indicates that upon receiving the call, the police’s anti-kidnap response team took over the matter and established that Corona had faked the kidnap story after falling victim of a gold scam.

This was the second time in four months that he was being duped into buying fake gold.

“He returned to Uganda on August 2, booked accommodation at Ivory Castle Hotel, Muyenga till August 4, when he disappeared from the hotel. On August 5, he went to First Jewelry shop, at Sheraton Hotel, with his samples which were evaluated and established as fake gold. The victim deposited his Italian passport number YB3010126, as security and retrieved it on August 7, upon clearing the testing fees of $400,” Enanga said.

He was later arrested at Entebbe airport for being in possession of undeclared gold which was confiscated and exhibited, after it was established as fake gold.

Enanga says he was later released on bond and asked to report back on August 12.

“The task teams however traced him at Grand Imperial Hotel and handed him over to CID headquarters for further management. The victim admitted that he had fabricated his story, and was never at risk. He is now fully cooperating with the task team, who are also investigating the suspects behind fake gold scams,” Enanga said.

Police investigations show that fake gold dealers use gold plated metal bars, nuggets or powder to dupe their victims who are mainly foreigners.

“They show their prospective buyers samples of genuine gold which are positively evaluated before entering into a sale agreement. Buyers easily fall into a trap of making huge profits,” Enanga said.