The Anti-Corruption Court has remanded Mary Gorreti Kitutu Kimono, Minister for Karamoja Affairs, and her brother Micheal Naboya Kitutu to Luzira Prison for causing loss of public property, corruption, and conspiracy to defraud the government.
Kitutu was charged before Chief Magistrate Joan Achiro’s Court on Thursday.
The Court heard that between June 2022 and January 2023, at the Prime Minister’s Stores, Namanve, Mukono District, Kitutu caused a loss of public property in the form of 14,000 pre-painted Iron sheets of Gauge 28 by diverting them from the intended purpose of benefiting the Karamoja Community Empowerment Program to her own benefit and the benefit of third parties who had reason to believe that such action would result in a loss of the said property.
It is also claimed that her co-accused Naboya, a peasant farmer and resident of Bukawekha Sub County Namisindwa District, got 100 iron sheets at the same time, despite the fact that they were stolen property.
Kitutu is charged alongside Joshua Abaho, the Prime Minister’s Senior Assistant Secretary for Karamoja Affairs, who did not appear in court. Abaho has been summoned to court on felony charges. Kitutu, on the other hand, denied the allegations.
Kitutu’s lawyers, Jude Byamukama and Michael Wamasebu asked for bail on the grounds that she is a Ugandan citizen, 61 years old, and thus of advanced age, as well as a very important person who has served in many respectable positions as a State Minister and now a Cabinet Minister.
Kitutu is also a highly decorated scientist and academician with a fixed address in Bunga Makindye Division, married to Michael Kitutu, an accountant, with whom she has been married since June 4th, 1988, and a mother of seven children as well as a grandma of seven.
According to Wamasebu, Kitutu also possesses property within court jurisdiction, including two private miles in Wakiso District, which he has submitted to Court.
Kitutu also has hypertensive heart disease with left ventricle stiffness (HHDD), which was discovered on March 15th, 2023 by Dr Charles Sendikadiwa of Mulago National Referral Hospital.
The court was also informed that Kitutu’s condition had worsened during her two days in custody, despite the fact that she has a threatening heart condition, particularly when under stress.
Wamasebu presented Kitutu’s sureties to the court, which included her husband, Michael George Kitutu, a self-employed man with a real estate interest, former MP Simon Mulongo, who is now a Diplomat and Special Envoy to the African Union, Seth Wambede Mbale City Northern Division Member of Parliament, and Dr Joel Wandabwa, a Plastic Surgeon attached to Kiruddu Hospital.
Assistant DPP Namatovu, on the other hand, objected to the bail motion, citing an affidavit signed by Detective Muhammad Soweti, one of the Investigating Officers.
Namatovu has stated that investigations are still ongoing and that she will interfere with prosecution witnesses once they are released because she has already done so directly by preventing her mother, Contilda Kitutu, from recording a statement despite the fact that some of the exhibits, in this case, were recovered from her house.
According to Namatovu, the sureties presented do not meet the requirements for release on bail in a case of this magnitude because the nature of the accusations against Kitutu reflects the loss of public property, which is a serious offence punishable by up to ten years in prison if convicted.
However, because it was late and the state needed more time to verify the papers presented by sureties and the authenticity of the two land titles presented by the Minister, Achiro remanded the two until April 12.