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Minister Kitutu Wipe As Court Deny Her Bail

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Minister Kitutu Wipe As Court Deny Her Bail

Mary Goretti Kitutu, a minister for Karamoja, was denied bail by the head of the anti-corruption court in Kololo due to a lack of sufficient sureties.

Dr. Kitutu and her brother Michael Naboya went before the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo on Wednesday to ask for bail in connection with allegations that they stole iron sheets intended for the weak in Karamoja.

But Court Chief Magistrate Ms. Joan Aciro, who presided over the hearing on Wednesday, denied the minister’s request for bail, citing the fact that only one of the four sureties, MP Seth Wambede (Mbale North), had provided documentation proving his employment and that his income source and amount were known.

The other three potential sureties, including the minister’s husband, former MP Simon Mulongo, and a close family friend, Joel Wandagwa, according to Ms. Aciro, did not provide enough evidence of their work or financial stability to allow the minister to obtain court release.

On Wednesday, Michael Namboya, her brother, and Karamoja Minister Kitutu (Centre) were present in the anti-corruption court.

In their request for bail, Minister Kitutu’s attorneys—Michael Wamasebu, a former deputy director of public prosecution; John Musiime; and Jude Byamukama—had highlighted the minister’s poor health, advanced age (61), and permanent home in Bunga, Kampala.

The matter has been continued to Friday, April 14, when the aforementioned sureties are anticipated to appear in court to provide their credentials so that the judge can decide whether or not to give the minister bail.

Due to allegations of misappropriating public property, corruption, and conspiring to defraud the government, Dr. Kitutu was sent to Luzira Prison last week.

Dr. Kitutu is charged with misappropriating iron sheets intended for Karamoja’s most vulnerable residents for her own gain and the benefit of third parties, knowing full well that doing so would result in the loss of public property.

In order to defraud participants of the Karamoja Community Empowerment Program of 9,000 pre-painted iron sheets, the DPP alleges that between June 2022 and January 2023, the minister and Mr. Abaho collaborated.

Dr. Kitutu’s brother is charged with receiving stolen property under count five. He allegedly acquired 100 pre-coated iron sheets from OPM while having grounds to suspect that they were obtained illegally, according to the complaint sheet.

Kitutu faces at least 10 years in prison if found guilty of the charges, although the Minister has subsequently disputed the allegations of misappropriation of public property and conspiracy to deceive the government.

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In a statement made in response to the corruption scandal yesterday, President Museveni said that government employees who utilized iron sheets intended for Karamoja for their own use should be prosecuted with theft.

“The second problem is people who used Mabaati for their own purposes. In his letter to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja dated April 3, 2023, Museveni stated that this was stealing rather than just a political error.

Many government representatives, particularly Cabinet Ministers, stole thousands of iron sheets intended for the Karamoja region’s most disadvantaged populations and distributed them among themselves.

According to Museveni, “Those involved must both bring the Mabaati or equivalent value in money but also be handled by the police under the Criminal Laws of the country.”

More individuals will be tried for diverting the iron sheets, according to information released last week by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution.

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