Buganda Kingdom Youth and Sports Minister Henry Ssekabembe Kiberu is under fire from fellow ministers he has been taking money from without paying it back. Almost all ministers have fallen prey to his conning tricks, Buganda Today can exclusively reveal.
Like any conman, Kiberu started by presenting a pseudo larger than life image of himself — a successful entrepreneur with a big wood works business in Kajjansi. He is always quick to identify wood types and give them value. If he comes to your home, he will mention the type of wood and inflate the cost of it to make you feel good. Like any conman, he speaks with confidence and usually quotes billionaires like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Richard Branson.
After presenting that image of a rich man with a successful business, his next step was to approach the ministers he knew have real money and borrow what he always claims is pocket change to solve a small problem. “I need some pocket change to pay the logistics people to ship timber to Italy,” he once told a minister as he borrowed Shs35m (USD10,000 at the time). “The containers are worth Shs500m and my profit is so huge,” Ssekabembe told one of his victims. Money was quickly advanced to support a fellow minister. After all, the victim didn’t think a Kabaka’s minister could be a professional conman.
After a month, Ssekabembe wasn’t paying back. “Don’t worry, shipping takes two months and once the container reaches Italy, money would be sent here and I will in fact pay your Shs50m. You helped me a lot,” he assured his victim. “And you know that is little money,” he added with his usual pride. The standard line for all people who are conmen and/or don’t pay back is “that is little money.”
It is now two years. No money has ever been paid. Of course there was no shipment anywhere as Ssekambembe only deals in nursery school furniture and can only handle small projects like two bedroom rental houses. In fact the machinery at his workshop don’t even belong to him. “When he knows somebody is visiting, he hires the machinery. When you come in, the workshop looks all set up. If you want to prove, just go there without informing him,” the source said. If you do, he will claim the boys are out working offsite and the client wanted everything done there.
Ssekabembe didn’t con only one minister. He conned other minister using a similar story and another minister. His victims within Mengo cabinet alone stand at five. The ministers only found out who Ssekabembe was when one told a close friend within cabinet. Several others came out and said Ssekabembe had taken their money. “He is the Robin Hood of Mengo. A complete thug. He has only survived for too long because the Katikkiro and the Kabaka were not aware,” our sources claimed.
Ssekabembe should even not be identified as Oweekitiibwa. He is only surviving because ministers don’t want to embarrass Kabaka Mutebi. “Ssekabembe’s victims think if they take him to Police, the Kabaka will not be amused as the media will land on the story and make a meal out of it,” the source added.
Now the man who is soon to relinquish the title Oweekitiibwa (the knife is being sharpened to fire him) has resorted to another common strategy used by all conmen. “He now comes late at functions and cabinet meetings. He always avoids eye contact with his victims pretending to be reading something important on his tablet computer. He also leaves early so that he avoids being confronted by those he owes money,” a source added. “By the way, he is also conning Kabaka’s staff of simple things like lunch. He can find you at a restaurant at Masenegere and he orders for food and as he leaves, he tells the staff, lunch is on that person I sat with,” the source added.
The details, our sources say have been sent to the Bbanda Palace and the Kabaka when opens this file will be left with only one option — to fire the conman. “If he is conning Kabaka’s ministers’ what about the general public. Once the Kabaka reads the file most likely after the Youth Day Celebrations functions, we don’t think Ssekabembe will survive unless he pays up his colleagues. The Kabaka hates thieves and those who take advantage of others,” our source at Bbanda says.