Uganda Charges Minister for Stealing Iron Sheets for the Poor

Photo Courtesy of Mary Gorreti Kitutu

A Ugandan minister in charge of Karamoja, Mary Gorreti Kitutu, one of the country’s poorest sub-regions has been charged and remanded on allegations of stealing iron sheets meant for the poor persons in the area she supervises.

Kitutu appeared before the anti-corruption court chief magistrate, Joan Aciro, on Thursday afternoon where she was remanded alongside her brother Micheal Kitutu Naboya, up to April 12, this year. However, Kitutu’s prosecution has raised more questions than answers on why she is the only cabinet official facing the law yet the iron sheets were taken by almost all the government’s political bigwigs.

The top government officials who have confessed to taking iron sheets meant for the poor people in Karamoja include President Yoweri Museveni’s Vice Jessica Alupo, Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, and Prime Minister Robinna Nabbanja.

Kitutu was arrested on Tuesday at Parliament after she declined to take the oath while being interrogated by the parliamentary committee. She was later taken to Criminal Investigations Directorate -CID headquarters and kept in cells until she appeared in court today.

Efforts to have Kitutu released on bail yielded no results as the court could not verify the authenticity of the land titles, she had presented to prove that she is a permanent resident who would not flee the county upon gaining temporary freedom.

Kitutu’s woes started early this year when her brother Naboya was allegedly found selling iron sheets branded Karamoja. The brother was arrested by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit -SHACU which later handed over the case files to CID.

The third person who was charged on Thursday is Joshua Abaho, the minister’s senior assistant secretary but he did not appear in court. As a result, the chief magistrate issued criminal sermons for Abaho to appear on April 12, without fail.

Prosecution has preferred six counts that include loss of public property, corruption, receiving stolen property, and conspiracy to defraud. The suspects and others still at large allegedly committed the offences between June 2022 and January 2023 at the Office of the Prime Minister -OPM in Namanve, along Mukono Road.  

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