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Fake priest conducts Mass, requiem services for years to extort from the faithful

Anthony Ssewanyana once faked a call from 'Archbishop' while conducting a requiem mass.

MET POLICE – For a masquerader to officiate Mass and requiem services as well as engage in community work while representing the Catholic church for years, they would have to be really good at the ‘art being fake.’

And if there was any such a man who can fake a living in a cloak to such mesmeric effect, it has to be Anthony Ssewanyana.

But then again, there is the proverbial 40 days for every evil act and Ssewanyana seems to have exhausted the days after all.

Police in Kasangati are holding the 30-year-old, a man who could have the audacity to exclaim, “Oh my God, this is from the Archdiocese, I have to take this,” while faking a phone call during one of his equally fake requiem mass.

Police say Ssewanyana has been extorting money from unsuspecting members of the public by posing as a Catholic priest from Rubaga Cathedral.

He was arrested at Kasangati Magistrate’s Court where he reportedly went to stand as surety for a suspect who had swindled money worth Shs131 million, Met Police said in a statement on Thursday.

It is alleged the suspect had met the family of the complainant, convinced them of how he was a Reverend Father attached to the Catholic church.

“The unconvinced complainants decided to verify if he was a true priest before he could stand as substantial surety in court,” Met Police said.

“His luck ran out when the verification proved he wasn’t an enlisted priest under the catholic church and was later arrested.”

It was, however, gathered that the fake priest was using the name Rev Fr Anthony Ssewanyana to extort money.

Defrauding the church

Police also said Gayaza Parish Priest had confirmed the suspect had visited at the parish, defrauded parishioners by conning them out of money in form of donations.

“It’s also believed he had on several occasions unlawfully officiated at church ceremonies. The recent incident was at a funeral service in Kasangati where he got stuck as he conducted the Mass,” Police said.

According to Poolice, one of the complainants said at one point during the funeral mass, he got a phone call. He said, “Oh my God, this is from the Archdiocese, I have to take this.” Ssewanyana then walked aside, spoke on the phone and returned saying it was the Archbishop calling from Rubaga and was sending condolences to the bereaved family.

“During interrogation, the suspect confessed that he has been in the act of ‘duping’ people for many years. He used the proceeds from the “business” to take care of his family.

The suspect is currently detained at Kasangati Police Station on charges of impersonation and obtaining money by false pretense as Police continue investigation into the act.

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