The Minister for Karamoja Mary Goretti Kitutu has been arraigned before the court and charged with corruption in relation to the swindling of iron sheets meant for the vulnerable in the Karamoja Sub-Region.
Kitutu appeared together with one Michael Kitutu Naboya, a relative.
The minister’s personal assistant Joshua Abaho with whom she is accused was not present in court.
The state prosecutor read charges related to loss of public property contrary to section 10(i) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2009 and conspiracy to defraud contrary to section 309 of the Penal Code Act.
The prosecution told the court that between the months of June 2022 and January 2023, at the Office of the Prime Minister’s stores in Namanve, Kitutu caused the government, a loss of 9000 iron sheets by diverting them from the intended purpose for her own benefit.
Kitutu’s personal assistant was also accused of corruption whereas her relative faces a charge related to receiving stolen property.
The duo denied all the charges before the trial magistrate, Joan Aciro.
“I have understood the charges. They are not true and I am not guilty,” Kitutu said in response.
The state prosecutor told the court that investigations are still ongoing
“There are few inquiries state has to clear and accused number two is not in court. We pray for a criminal summons to be issued against him, “Assistant DPP Josephine Namatovu told the court.
The group was represented by lawyers led by Michael Wamasebu and Jude Byamukama.
They asked the court to release the minister on bail.
The court is still hearing the bail.
The senior minister being chauffeured in the police Renault Duster arrived at court at around mid-day amid tight security by counter-terrorism police officers.
The minister who was dressed in a yellow blouse and a dotted white skirt covered herself to hide from cameras before she got out of the vehicle.
She was quickly led into the court cells where she joined one of her relatives with who she is accused of swindling iron sheets meant for Karamoja.
The Minister for Environment, Beatrice Anywar was among the few government officials who visited and stood with Kitutu.
Kitutu’s woes started when some of her relatives, including her mother, were arrested by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit for being in possession of iron sheets meant for Karamoja.
The minister would later influence their release.
Meanwhile, President Museveni later directed Police and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to thoroughly investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary committee on presidential affairs also got interested in the matter as they kicked off investigations.
When she appeared before the committee, Kitutu refused to take the oath, prompting parliament to hand her over to CID but at police, the minister refused to say anything.
Ministers disown Kitutu
Whereas several other ministers and government officials were implicated in the iron sheets saga, these disowned the minister.
Most of them, including the Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija said they never solicited for the iron sheets but were rather delivered to them.
When the same accusations were put before her, Kitutu declined to comment on the matter.