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Uganda Mayor Charged With Fraud

June 19, 1998

BOSTON (AP) _ The mayor of Uganda’s capital, already facing charges in federal court of making false customs declarations, was indicted on new charges that he defrauded a Boston bank.

The new charges against Hajji Ntege Sebaggala, mayor of Kampala, allege he deposited $191,000 in forged checks in his BankBoston account.

Sebaggala was arrested Saturday at New York’s Kennedy International Airport as he waited to board a Brussels-bound Sabena flight, according to his attorney, Paul Reichler. Reichler said Sebaggala, 50, was on his way back to Kampala.

New Vision, a Ugandan newspaper, quoted Ugandan diplomats as saying the mayor and his wife, Sarah Nabagesera, who is also a parliamentary deputy, had attended a garbage-management seminar in Chicago, where the plane originated.

Sebaggala was first indicted June 10 on two counts of making false statements on U.S. Customs forms at Boston’s Logan International Airport on Jan. 1. A superseding indictment was returned Wednesday that included the earlier charges and six new counts of bank fraud.

According to an affidavit filed by a customs official, Sebaggala said on the forms that he was not carrying more than $10,000 in U.S. currency, but he was found with $108,000 in travelers checks.

Reichler said Sebaggala was in Boston on business.

Sebaggala was released to the custody of the Ugandan ambassador to the United Nations, said Amy Rindskopf, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.

Sebaggala must stay at the ambassador’s New York residence until a June 23 hearing in Brooklyn. A magistrate is to decide then whether he should be freed while awaiting trial in Boston.

If found guilty, Sebaggala could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Sebaggala, who owns a foreign-exchange house in Kampala, was elected mayor by a landslide in April.

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