Minister Kitutu remanded to Luzira Prison over Karamoja Irons Sheets

The duo today appeared before Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate, Joan Aciro but pleaded not guilty to all charges to do with loss of public property and conspiracy to defraud in the Karamoja iron sheets scandal.

Minister for Karamoja Affairs Mary Gorreti Kitutu Kimono (L) and her brother Micheal Naboya Kitutu (R) in the dock at Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, Kampala before they were remanded to Luzira Prison on April 6, 2023.

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala has remanded the Minister for Karamoja Affairs Mary Gorreti Kitutu Kimono and her brother Micheal Naboya Kitutu to Luzira Prison until Wednesday, April 12 over causing loss of public property and conspiracy to defraud.

The duo appeared before the Court Chief Magistrate, Joan Aciro on Thursday afternoon but pleaded not guilty to all charges related to the Karamoja iron sheets scandal.

Prosecution charge sheet states that between the month of June 2022 and January 2023 at the office of the Prime Minister’s Stores, Namanve, Mukono District, Kitutu in her capacity as minister diverted 14,000 pre-painted Iron sheets of Gauge 28 from the intended purpose of benefiting the Karamoja Community Empowerment Program to her own benefit and to the benefit of third parties who include relatives, MPs and cabinet ministers.

The State prosecution further claims in January 2023, Kitutu diverted 5,500 iron sheets, and her brother received 100 of them in Namisindwa district. Some of these iron sheets were sold to private hardware shops in Namisindwa.

Minister Goretti Kitutu arriving at the courtroom earlier today

Kitutu is implicated alongside Joshua Abaho, the Senior Assistant Secretary Ministry of Karamoja Affairs Office of the Prime Minister who did not appear in court. Court has issued criminal summons against Abaho.

Kitutu denied bail

The Minister’s lawyers led by Jude Byamukama and Michael Wamasebu applied for bail on grounds that Kitutu is a Ugandan citizen aged 61 and therefore of advanced age and that she is a very prominent person having served in many respectful offices as a State Minister and now a Cabinet Minister.

The court also heard that Kitutu is a very decorated scientist and academician with a fixed place of abode in Bunga Makindye Division, married to Michael Kitutu an Accountant with whom they have been married since June 4th, 1988, and a mother of seven children and also a grandmother of seven.

According to Wamasebu, Kitutu also owns property within court jurisdiction including two pieces of land in form of a private mile in Wakiso District and he has submitted them before Court.

Court also heard that Kitutu has a medical condition called hypertensive heart disease with left ventricle stiffness (HHDD) which was diagnosed on March 15th, 2023 by Dr. Charles Sendikadiwa of Mulago National Referral Hospital.

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Minister Kitutu in the dock

The court was also told that in the two days, Kitutu has spent in custody, her condition has worsened yet it is a threatening heart condition especially when she is under stress.

Wamasebu presented to the court Kitutu’s sureties including her husband Michael George Kitutu a self-employed man with an interest in real estate, Former MP Simon Mulongo who is currently a Diplomat and Special Envoy to the African Union, Seth Wambede Mbale City Northern Division Member of Parliament and Dr. Joel Wandabwa the Plastic Surgeon attached to Kiruddu Hospital.

However, Assistant DPP Namatovu objected to the bail application relying on an affidavit sworn by Detective Muhammad Soweti one of the Investigating Officers.

Namatovu has noted that inquiries are still ongoing and therefore she will interfere with prosecution witnesses once released because she already directly did this by stopping and obstructing her mother Contilda Kitutu from recording a statement yet some of the exhibits, in this case, were recovered from her house.

According to Namatovu, the sureties presented do not meet the requirements for the release on bail in a case of such scale because the nature of accusations against Kitutu reflects the loss of public property which is a serious offense that attracts a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment once found guilty.

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However, Achiro remanded the two until April 12, because it was late and the state wanted more time to verify the documents presented by sureties and the authenticity of the two land titles presented by the Minister.

The Director of Public Prosecution said more files of suspects in the theft of relief items meant for Karamoja are being processed for action.

IGG’s list of top government officials who benefitted from the iron sheet scam:

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  1.   Jessica Alupo   (Vice President)
  2.  Anita Among   (Speaker of Parliament)
  3.  Robinah Nabbanja (Prime Minister)
  4.  Rebecca Kadaga   (First Deputy Prime Minister/Minister for East African Affairs)
  5.  Rukia Isanga Nakadama   (Second Deputy Prime Minister/Minister without Portfolio)
  6. Matia Kasaija (Finance Minister)
  7.  Judith Nabakooba (Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development)
  8. Mary Kitutu Goretti    (Minister for Karamoja Affairs)
  9. Dennis Hamson Obua (Government Chief Whip)
  10. Rose Lilly Akello (Minister for Ethics and Integrity)


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