Minister Nandutu committed for High Court trial, remanded to Luzira

Nandutu today appeared before the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo by police after spending a night in cells at Kira Division police headquarters following her arrest over the scandal.

Karamoja Affairs State Minister Ms Agnes Nandutu in the dock at the Anti-corruption court in Kololo, Kampala on Wednesday (Photo/Courtesy)

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Minister of State for Karamoja, Hon. Agnes Nandutu has been committed to the High Court for trial and remanded to Luzira over the mismanagement of iron sheets that were meant for the people of Karamoja sub-region.

Nandutu was arraigned before the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo on Wednesday after spending a night in police cells at Kira Division headquarters over the scandal.

Presiding over a filled courtroom this afternoon, the Anti-Corruption Court grade one magistrate Esther Asiimwe charged the minister with counts of dealing with suspect property contrary to section 21A (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act,2009 (As Amended).

State Prosecution told court that during the month of June 2022, at the OPM stores Namanve, Mukono District and Kkola cell, Bulwanyi Parish in Mukono district, Minister Nandutu dealt with 2000 pre-painted iron sheets of gauge 28 by receiving and holding the said iron sheets which she had reason to believe were acquired as a result of loss of public property, an offence under section 10 (1) of the Anti Corruption Act 2009.

“I have instructions from the DPP to have the suspect committed to the High Court for trial. The committal papers are before you my lord,” State attorney, Mr David Bisamuyu said before an indictment was read and the minister committed.

Karamoja State Minister Agnes Nandutu at the Anti-corruption court in Kololo, Kampala on Wednesday

The Magistrate, therefore, said she cannot hear the Bududa Woman MP’s bail application following her committal. “The accused is hereby committed for trial in the next court session.”

Nandutu was henceforth remanded to Luzira Prison until May 3, 2023, when she’s expected to appear before the High Court for mention of her case

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The charges against the minister stem from an ongoing investigation into the iron sheets scandal, which has already seen two of her fellow ministers, Mary Goretti Kitutu and Amos Lugoloobi, arrested and charged by the same court.

Nandutu stares wistfully before court on Wednesday afternoon

The former NTV news anchor is said to have received a whopping total of 2,000 iron sheets she took from the Office of the Prime Minister and has been struggling to make accountability for the same ever since the sage became a news topic in the country.

Her case is the latest in a series of corruption scandals to rock the Ugandan government, with several high-ranking officials, including ministers and lawmakers, facing charges of fraud and embezzlement.

The scandal which has attracted widespread attention has left many Ugandans expressing outrage at the alleged diversion of resources intended for the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

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More ministers implicated in the saga are expected to follow President Museveni’s directive issued in an April 3 letter stating that they refund the mabaati (roofing items) or the equivalent money in value.

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