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Karamoja Iron Sheets: DPP says more suspects to be charged

Sources privy to the investigations say more suspects including ministers and MPs will be arraigned in court next week after being summoned to report to the police.

Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Mary Gorreti Kitutu arraigned before the Anti-Corruption court.

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has revealed that more suspects will be arraigned before the Anti-Corruption court in relation to the diversion of iron sheets.

Ms Jaquelyn Okui, the ODPP Public Relations Officer said in an interview that more suspects will be arraigned in Court for their different roles in the diversion of the iron sheets, adding that the files have been split and will be taken to court separately.

“This is not selective prosecution. What has happened is that the case is being handled in Peace Meal. So this is just the first case file. There is a case file in respect of each suspect. The case file will be submitted by the Police to the office of the DPP for consideration as and when they conclude the investigations”, Ms Okui said.

She added that Kitutu’s mother was supposed to have been put on the same file with the Minister but in the interest of Justice, the DPP decided not to charge her because of her advanced age. She is about 86 years.

According to sources privy to the investigations, more suspects will be arraigned in court next week after being summoned to report to the police.

The development follows criticisms from a section of the public who questioned why other government officials implicated in the theft of the iron sheets were not arraigned in the Anti-Corruption Court alongside the Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Mary Gorreti Kitutu.

The Minister and her brother Michael Naboya on Thursday appeared before the Court presided over by Chief Magistrate Joan Achiro and were remanded to jail until April 12th, 2023 for their respective roles in diverting 14,500 pre-painted iron sheets intended for the Karamoja Community Empowerment Program.

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Karamoja Iron Sheets Saga

In December 2021, Parliament passed a supplementary budget worth 39 billion Shillings to support various programs in Karamoja, including the purchase of 100,000 iron sheets, which are alleged to have been diverted.

Last month, the Karamoja Parliamentary group formally wrote to the Clerk of Parliament, Adolf Mwesige, notifying him of their intent to file a notice of motion for the censure of Minister Kitutu.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni days later directed the CID and the State House Anti-corruption Unit to jointly carry out investigations into the scandal, with the suspects recording statements at CID before the DPP took over the charges.

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The Police have since announced that they were investigating 22 Ministers, 31 Members of Parliament, and 13 Chief Administrative Officers believed to have received the iron sheets.

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