Court

Minister Kitutu finally granted bail

granted a cash bail of Shs10 million to the embattled minister who is battling charges of causing loss of public property and conspiracy to defraud government in the Karamoja iron sheets scandal.

Karamoja Affairs Minister, Dr Mary Goretti Kitutu appearing in court on Friday, April 14, 2023. PHOTO/ DM

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Minister for Karamoja Affairs Dr Mary Goretti Kitutu has finally been granted bail by the Anti-Corruption Court after spending over a week at Luzira Prison.

Kitutu was granted a cash bail of Shs10 million on Friday afternoon after Chief Magistrate Ms Joan Aciro found the new sureties presented led by the Minister of State for the Elderly, Mr Gidudu Mafabi substantial enough to bail out the minister.

The same court also granted Kitutu’s brother, Michael Naboya a shs 3 million cash bail while her sureties were each bonded at Shs200 million and her brother’s Shs100 million in non-cash during the Friday court proceedings.

Kitutu’s temporary freedom came two days after the same court on Wednesday sent her back to Luzira prison saying three of the four sureties presented, who included her husband, Micheal George Kitutu, were unsubstantial.

In her ruling on Wednesday, the magistrate said that the three sureties failed to demonstrate a financial ability to execute the necessary court bond in the event that the minister jumped bail and fled the court’s jurisdiction.

The Minister’s lawyers led by Michael Wamasebu, a former deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP); Mr John Musiime, and Mr Jude Byamukama, last week cited ill health, the advanced age of 61, having a permanent residence in Bunga within the jurisdiction of the court and handed to court two land titles, each measuring half an acre, in Wakiso District as grounds for her release on bail.

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Kitutu is battling charges of causing loss of public property and conspiracy to defraud government in the Karamoja iron sheets scandal but the minister has since denied the charges.

President Museveni has since weighed in on the corruption scandal, saying government officials who diverted iron sheets meant for Karamoja and used them for personal benefit should be charged with theft.

“The second issue is those who took Mabaati for personal use. This is not just a political mistake, it is theft,” said Museveni in his letter to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja on April 3, 2023.

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Several government officials, especially Cabinet Ministers, took thousands of iron sheets meant for the vulnerable communities in Karamoja and shared them amongst themselves.

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