TV hosts Sheilah Gashumba and former NTV host Douglas Lwanga are smiling to the bank after putting pen on paper. The two have signed a two-year contract as brand ambassadors for the contentious Development Channel, a newly established organization in Uganda.
The company registered as Development Conglomerate Limited is a conglomerate of 25 startups and is operating a branch in Uganda. The organization currently sells computer tablets with promises of giving “lifetime risk-free returns from its combined profit” when it fully rolls out. The monthly dividends, they claim, will range between $100-$500 (sh360,000 and sh1.8m) for its clients.
With the new contract, Sheila Gashumba and Douglas Lwanga’s role will be commenting on social media posts by Development Channel and also sharing them since they have a wide social media following.
According to sources, they will also do mentions of different Development Channel activities on their TV shows for the next two years. During the Development Channel media launch that took place at Silver Springs in Bugoloobi on Thursday evening, Charles Lambert the Chairman of the organization said that in the last 6 months since DC came to Uganda, there have been 500 Jobs that have been given to youths and most of these work online. “Our target is to create over 50,000 jobs in Uganda to fight the unemployment rate which is 56%” Mr Lambert said.
To start with, Development Channel says it is going to set up a mobile phone and tablet factory in Uganda but as for now, they will only be shipping the phones to Uganda. The tablets were the first to touch base and they are known as the ‘No dropout tablets’ which are already on the market.
However, last week an investigation by the New Vision into Development Channel raised questions regarding its business model and sustainability.
“Our investigations also established that there is an ongoing investigation into the company by the Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Directorate under reference number CID/HQTRS/GIF 250/2018 over the business model that the company is operating. The case was filed by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA). They are fears that the police file could be missing as our efforts to establish how far investigations have gone hit a dead end,” the paper reported.
According to the report, anti-fraud experts have even cautioned that the public should be careful while dealing with business models that are hard to understand.
Mustapha Mugisa, a forensic and anti-fraud expert is quoted to have said that the company will give customers substandard tablets in return and then a certificate of share ownership promising dividends which will likely never come.
Charles Nsamba, the public relations officer at CMA is also quoted to have said: “We warned the public about Development Channel and any other such companies which act outside the law. We have engaged the police and are working with other authorities to investigate the matter.”
“We continue to warn the public to desist from buying shares or even the promise of dividends because a company cannot offer you dividends unless you are a shareholder,” Nsamba said.
With this kind of criticism and negative publicity we wonder how Gashumba and Lwanga are going to promote a product that is under investigation by the Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Directorate. Nevertheless, we wish them luck and have to admit, we are going to enjoy watching the drama.