Police confirm arresting Minister Lugoloobi over Karamoja Iron Sheets

Lugoloobi is among the four suspects whose files were sanctioned Thursday afternoon by the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (ODPP).

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Police has confirmed that Hon Amos Lugoloobi, the Minister of State for Finance (Planning) is in custody in relation to the theft and diversion of relief iron sheets meant for the people of Karamoja.

Lugoloobi was arrested Friday evening and is currently detained at Kira Division Police Station as he awaits to be produced in court on Monday.

Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson confirmed the development in a Friday statement explaining that the arrest came after the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) sanctioned charges against him.

“Following the ongoing investigations into the alleged theft and diversion of Iron sheets meant for the Karamoja region, the office of the DPP has sanctioned criminal charges against Hon. Amos Lugolobi, the Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development,” said Enanga in a brief statement.

“As a result, he has been arrested and detained at Kira Division, pending court,” he added.

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Lugoloobi is one of the 31 ministers who received the iron sheets meant for the Karamoja sub-region.

The minister reportedly received 600 iron sheets and in February this year admitted that he had used some of the G28 corrugated pre-painted iron sheets he received to roof a shed for his goats on his farm located in Misanga Village, Bbaale Sub-county in Kayunga District.

“I have realised that these iron sheets are evil and I no longer need them. Let me remove it so that I buy other iron sheets and re-roof my shed so that no one can lay claim that I owe them anything on my property,” he said after ordering workers to pluck off the sheets.

His arrest on Friday happened just hours after he returned part of the said iron sheets he received to the Office the Prime Minister (OPM) stores in Namanve.

The sheets of corrugated iron roofing were earmarked for low-cost housing in Karamoja, an underdeveloped and restive region in northwest Uganda bordering Kenya and South Sudan.

The scandal caused significant public outcry across the country where government corruption is endemic.

Up to 22 ministers, 31 MPs and 13 district administrative officers have been implicated in the scandal, alongside Vice President Jessica Alupo, Speaker of Parliament Anita Among and Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja.

Last Thursday, Karamoja Affairs Minister Mary Gorretti Kitutu became the first suspect to be formally charged in court and remanded on charges of conspiracy to defraud and causing loss of public property.

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Ms Kitutu was on Friday released on bail after spending eight days in custody.

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