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How Capital Chicken fleeced unsuspecting Ugandans billions in poultry investment scheme

Capital Chicken's Head Offices at Ben Kiwanuka Street in Kampala, which primary targeted traders in the city centre (Photo/Internet)

Kampala, (UG): Police Wednesday said investigations were underway into a non-existent poultry-rearing investment scheme dubbed Capital Chicken which allegedly scammed over shs1.6 billion from thousands of Ugandans in yet another Ponzi scheme.

Earlier this week, several Ugandans took to social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to express concern after they realised they had fallen victim to a new twist of an investment scheme which appeared too good to be true.

“Capital Chicken,” which started operations in Uganda two years ago (2021) primarily targeted corporate individuals seeking to profit from the chicken business without the hassle of direct involvement.

According to their website, the investment scheme stated thus; “We are an agribusiness contract farming partnership enterprise who rear poultry on behalf of individuals who wish to earn an income out of poultry farming but are limited by a number of factors including but not limited to limited skills, no access to land, insufficient capital, lack of a stable market, and time.”

With its head offices along Kanjokya Street in Kampala Central Division, Capital Chicken invited individuals to entrust their money with them for investment in what they dubbed a modernised poultry-rearing business, with the promise of returns.

Initially, this operation appeared to run smoothly, but recently, concerns arose as some members encountered unusual behaviour from the management.

The Kampala Metropolitan Police Deputy Spokesperson, ASP Luke Owoyesigyire in a statement on Wednesday afternoon said that according to ongoing investigations, reports indicated that members were being asked to “come back later” when visiting the office for transactions.

However, he says “On September 29, 2023, the situation escalated when individuals arrived at the office to find it unexpectedly closed. In light of these developments, concerned citizens promptly reported the matter to the police.”

ASP Owoyesigyire says investigations have been initiated at Kira Road police station under case numbers GEF 38/2023 and GEF 39/2023 where statements have been recorded from 41 victims.

“The 41 victims have shed light on transactions totalling approximately shs1.6 million. Furthermore, relevant documents pertaining to these transactions have been recovered to aid in our ongoing investigation,” said Mr Owoyesigyire.

How the Scheme ‘dupped’ Ugandans

Just like D9 Club, BLQ, Amazon Traders and several other scams that have fleeced Ugandans billions of shillings in recent years, Capital Chicken was no other than a scam that presented a hassle-free opportunity to attract thousands of potential investors into a very non-existent investment scheme.

Capital Chicken Logo

Positioning itself in an urban environment within the Kampala CBD (read Central Business District) at Plot 74, Kanjokya Street in Kamwokya, Capital Chicken went further to open another branch on Ben Kiwanuka Street in Kampala, Capital Chicken and even went head to ‘dup’ its investors by displaying photos of a fictitious Mukono chicken farm at their offices.

Surprisingly, only a few investors (who are even believed to be part of the scheme) could tell their physical visit to check on the poultry farm they are investing in. The fictitious scheme even went ahead to use prominent influencers on the X platform, as well as public figures (involving VJ Junior, a popular movie translator) to make ‘noise’ for the legitimacy of their investment.

The company also identified a number of media houses, including TVs and radios where they placed adverts asking members of the public to invest in the chicken rearing business.

A Fictitious photo of the Capital Chicken’s poultry farm in Mukono that it widely used on social media and on Radio & TV to attract the public to invest with them

Potential investors were actually told to invest between shs1 million to infinity for individuals whereas there was also an allowance for investing as a group by pooling resources where at the end of every month one would get profits amounting to 15% of their total investment.

Investors were told they were being helped to rear poultry remotely and get interested at the end of every five months. To build trust, the scam operated with binding contracts and assured investors of its registration and insurance coverage.

The amount would be paid at the end of five months since this was the expiry of each contract and a member had the liberty to choose whether to get only the profit and the initial capital stays to make another profit.

The wide range of investment packages which Capital Chicken often advertised through media

For example, if one invested shs10 million, they would be earning shs1.5 million every month which would accumulate to shs 6 million at the end of the five months. To gain the trust of the members, the company said it was registered and that the members’ investments were insured.

Additionally, Capital Chicken also came out with a plan recently saying they had planned to expand further by setting up chicken-selling shops in various parts of the country that it said it was going to roll out and asked “investors” to get ready to own the shops.

To further expand their ‘prey’ the investment scheme went for Ugandans based in the diaspora; mostly those in the Middle East, as the proprietors knew such a target feared sending their money back home considering the many stories of being fleeced by relatives.

Most of these who therefore chose to to invest in Capital Chicken as a way of keeping their money but also having it accumulate profit, are among the many currently crying foul after losing their hard-earned money.

A Red Flag Arises

Since August, Capital Chicken has started experiencing hiccups where investors didn’t receive their interest at the end of the contracts.

It was until last month that Ugandans who had invested in the company realised a ‘red flag’ when the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), a statutory body and agency regulating capital and investment markets raised a red alert to Ugandans on the illegitimacy of Capital Chicken.

CMA in a statement titled “Caveat Emptor” a Latin phrase that means “let the buyer beware,” warned that the company was not regulated by them, adding that it had received various inquiries seeking guidance on the widely publicized “investment opportunities” by among others, and advised the public against it.

“The general public is hereby advised that the said entities have not sought the approval of the authority to offer investment contracts to the general public. It is important to note that in the absence of regulatory oversight, investors in unregulated investment activities have limited recourse in the event of unfair treatment, loss or other challenges faced in their investment journey,” said CMA in a statement (see below).

Victims speak out

Victims who spoke to this publication explained how they were being referred to as investors with five monthly contracts each, and one would be assured of a 60% interest on the amount invested at the end of the contract and had the liberty to either renew it or not.

“I invested shs3 million in Capital Chicken and twice, I was able to get shs1.8 million after the end of my five-month contract. I was expecting to get money on the third time,” a victim who preferred anonymity told this website.

Another victim said when she went to the company at the end of September, she found that they had closed offices, although there was a notice on the gate indicating that the company staff had gone for a retreat and would return on Monday, October 2, 2023.

“When I went there on Monday, the notice was still on the gate but it was closed and there was no one. Even the police officers who had been deployed at the entrance were nowhere to be seen,” she said.

“When the contract expired, they called me to go and renew my contract after which I would receive my interest. Whereas the money was supposed to come in two weeks, a month elapsed and there was nothing.”

She added when she insisted on getting her interest paid and visited the company offices in Kamwokya, she was told there were challenges with suppliers of chicken but the money was coming soon.

“By the time the company closed its offices, they were no longer picking up my calls and sometimes their known phone numbers were off,” she added.

Capital Chicken positioned itself with a consistency Brand Identity to dup Ugandans

DailyExpress has also exclusively learnt that even Capital Chicken employees were astonished to discover that the CEO of the company had vanished with investors’ cash and has since left the country. A number of his deputies followed suit in fleeing the country whereas employees were in hiding for fear of being lynched by investors.

Company Administrator Speaks out

According to an administrator of the company’s official Whats App number, even the employees of Capital Chicken seem to have been duped too by the top managers who have since fled the country with their catch.

“We believed in the vision and mission of the company and we have seen it work and benefit thousands of individuals in Uganda grow their income through this partnership. However, on Thursday night, we got a directive in a group text chain to close offices by the director of Capital Chicken as he was dealing with issues related to Capital Markets Authority as published in the newspaper weeks prior,” the administrator said in a WhatsApp status.

However, in a statement dated Tuesday, October 3, 2023, Capital Chicken via its official account on X explained to its ‘investors’ that it had been forced to close temporarily due to the CMA’s negative assessment and subsequent freezing of their accounts by the FIA.

The company also expressed a desire for regulatory agencies to engage with them to resolve any issues.

What Next?

ASP Luke Owoyesigyire in his Wednesday statement said police are currently on a trace of the primary suspects in the case whom he identified as; Wamanga Pius Sempebwa Ernest and others all at large.

We want to assure the public that this matter is being treated with utmost seriousness. Our investigators are diligently working to uncover the facts surrounding this alleged fraud. We understand the concerns of the victims and the public, and we are committed to bringing this investigation to a swift and just conclusion,” Mr Owoyesigyire said.

“We encourage anyone who has been affected by the company or has information related to this case to come forward and cooperate with our investigators. As the investigation progresses, we will continue to provide updates to keep the public informed.”

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