Information obtained by URN shows that most of the borrowers were expected to receive their motorcycles on Monday (October 4, 2021) but surprisingly, the offices at Pamba were closed over the weekend. The furious borrowers, who had travelled to Soroti to receive their motorcycles later stormed the office of the Resident City Commissioner, Peter Pex Paak, seeking his intervention into the matter.
Over 200 people in Soroti has lost millions of
Shillings in a fraudulent motorcycle deal.
The victims were conned by Savannah
Motors, which has been
operating along Old- Mbale Road in Pamba Ward, Soroti City West
Division for close to three months after securing a trading license from Soroti city authorities.
The company entered agreements
with different individuals to supply Bajaj Motorcycles on credit after paying Shillings 500,000 as commitment
fees from the borrower. In
the agreement, a borrower would either choose to pay weekly deposits of Shillings 62,500 or Shillings 250,000 monthly for 24 months.
Information obtained by URN shows that most of the borrowers
were expected to receive their motorcycles on Monday (October 4, 2021) but
surprisingly, the offices at Pamba
were closed over the weekend. The
furious borrowers, who had travelled to
Soroti to receive their motorcycles later stormed the office of the Resident
City Commissioner, Peter Pex Paak, seeking his intervention into the matter.
But the company directors and all the staff at Savanna had
long disappeared from
the offices. Even their known telephone contacts and office lines 0393248465/0776001597/0740220465) were inaccessible.
URN has since learnt that the official lines that were
provided are registered under Mukulu Yusuf and Stephen Wakimwere but are
currently unavailable on the MTN network.
The affected borrowers say
that they were betrayed by the local authorities in Soroti City and local radio
stations that ran announcements and adverts, encouraging them to trust the
Boniface Eroju, a
resident of Kalaki District says that there is connivance between the local
leadership in Soroti and Savannah Motors. Eroju, who is a cyclist in Soroti says that he had no interest in the motorcycle deal with
Savannah until he heard the adverts and announcements on Etop Radio.
//cue in “Aumokit eong…
Cue out…etau iyalama”//
Simon Epitu, a Boda- boda cyclist in Soroti faults the
chairperson of Soroti Boda- boda association, Richard Oculi for luring members
into entering the deal with Savannah Motors.
Epitu said that Oculi was involved in the mobilization of
riders on radio talk shows and other programs that made many people to trust
// cue in “Apas Oculi…
contacted, Oculi said
that he was convinced that company was genuine after seeing the trading license
issued by Soroti City authorities. Regina Akello, the Assistant Town Clerk of
Soroti City West Division, says that they
issued a license for motor vehicle spares to Savannah Motors not a credit facility for motorcycles.
“The person responsible for issuing licenses
went for an assessment. We were told that the company was going to sell spare
parts for motorcycles and that is where we based our assessment. It was
shocking to learn that the company has been defrauding residents. It was an
oversight on us, after issuing the license, we didn’t follow up with what the
company was doing on the ground”, she said.
Oscar Greg Ageca, the East Kyoga Regional Police
that the police are investigating the circumstances that led to the collective loss of the said cash under vide
alleged that Savannah motors under the stewardship and purported management of
Labati Johnson of Sune Parish in Budaka District signed client agreements with
various individuals within Teso sub-region to supply them with Bajaj
Motorcycles upon Payments of prescribed fees. The motorcycles were to be
delivered to clients on or before October 4, 2021, but savannah Motors has of
the date of herein closed its offices located in Soroti City at Old Mbale Road,
opposite Municipal Secondary school”, Ageca said in a statement.
He says that
Labati was accused
by one of the borrowers last week but when he appeared at CPS Soroti, he showed
the agreement that indicated that the motorcycle would be delivered on October
“At the time, the complainants couldn’t be
helped because of the agreements. All the agreements were reading the same date
for delivery. Unfortunately, by the time of delivery, the company had vanished
from the ground”, he said.
Last year, there was a similar scheme targeting
boda- boda riders at Television in Soroti that conned several riders of their
hard-earned cash. By the time the authorities realized, the fraudsters had
already packed their bags. Similar incidents have been recorded in Soroti over
the years and cases recorded
by police but no recovery of the lost cash.