Scores of boda boda riders and other individuals on Monday morning stormed the office of the Resident City Commissioner in Soroti seeking intervention over a vehicle financing company they accuse of fraud.
These alleged that the company defrauded over two hundred unsuspecting persons of millions of money in Soroti and Teso region in a loan scheme purportedly meant to aid them access motorcycles and pay in installments.
Denis Eseun, one of the victims, said he paid the mandatory initial deposit of Shs 500,000 to the company with all the necessary credentials and was promised he would receive the motorcycle today Monday but to his dismay, the company’s office in Soroti, West Pamba ward, is locked and all known contact numbers (03933248465 /0776001597) are not reachable.
Eseun said he sold a bull from his home to raise the Shs 500,000 hoping to access the motorcycle and improve his earnings but his plans are hanging in the balance.
“They advertised on a local radio station here and they were moving with the boda boda riders’ chairman Richard Ochuli, so we thought they were legit. We were paying an initial deposit of Shs 500,000 and a weekly deposit of Shs 62,500 for two years. We submitted letters from the LC1, Passports among other documents. Their office was well established, they even had language translators,” Eseun said.
Another victim, a visibly distressed Katy Ikiso, mother of five, says she sold he piglets to raise the initial deposit “with hope that the motorcycle would be making money on a daily basis and I would save to pay the loan. “
“I sold my piglets, I am sleeping hungry with my children and these tricksters have run away with our money. We came today like they had promised to bring the motorcycles but their offices are locked and the numbers do not go through, no one is communicating with us. I feel so bad,” she lamented.
Joseph Osilon from Asuret, blames the local leaders “for accepting these fraudsters who come taking advantage of the already vulnerable communities.”
Meanwhile, the chairperson boda boda riders in Soroti Richard Ochuli, said the company had all the documents indicating that they were fully registered and licensed to do the business.
He asserted that he got information about the company through the boda boda rider who sought clarification from him about the opportunity.
“I went to the company’s office and they gave me the certificate of registration and also the licenses to trade issued by the city authority making it look legit, so I tried telling some boda boda riders to be vigilant not to pay money before seeing the motorcycles but many never listened to my advice,” he said.
Boda boda is the most popular means of transportation in Uganda employing thousands of youth who mostly get the motorcycles on loan from various companies under given arrangements.
Contacted about the authenticity and procedures of accessing trading licenses by such companies, an ex-local government leader said they usually consider “the revenue part of it but not the authenticity of an organization or a company that comes to do business in the area.”
By press time, Resident City Commissioner Soroti city, Peter Pex Paak, had told the aggrieved persons to photocopy the agreement letters with the said company and the receipts for case opening at Soroti central police station.