Karamoja Iron Sheets Scandal: Minister Kitutu Committed To High Court For Trial

Karamoja Iron Sheets Scandal: Minister Kitutu Committed To High Court For Trial

The Minister for Karamoja, Mary Goretti Kitutu has been committed to the High Court for trial after the DPP told the lower court that investigations are complete.

On Thursday, when Kitutu’s case came up for mention at the Anti-Corruption Magistrates Court in Kololo, the state prosecutors told the trial Chief Magistrate, Joan Aciro that investigations are complete and asked that the minister is committed to the High Court for trial.

The magistrate consequently committed Kitutu to High Court.

It was the same fate for Kitutu’s brother Michael Naboya Kitutu and Personal Assistant, Joshua Abaho with whom she is accused.

According to the indictment, Kitutu, her brother and her personal assistant are charged with 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 indictment says that in 2021, the Ministry of Karamoja received a shs39.9billion supplementary budget which was meant for disarmament and community empowerment program in Karamoja and the money was to be used to procure goats and iron sheets for the reformed youth warriors known as Karachunas and other vulnerable groups like the elderly and women in Karamoja sub-region.

The Office of the Prime Minister later identified MM Integrated Steel Mills Uganda Limited and M/S Roofings Group to supply pre-painted iron sheets and these were marked “Office of the Prime Minister.”

On June, 8, 2022, one Joshua Abaho, a senior assistant secretary in the OPM and a personal assistant to Minister, Mary Goretti Kitutu wrote an internal memo to the undersecretary requesting for the release of 10,000 iron sheets for Moroto.

The iron sheets were released by Abaho removed 1000 and the remaining 9000 iron sheets were delivered to Naitakwae Grounds in Moroto District.

After the launch of the program Mary Gorreti Kimono through her personal assistant, Abaho started distributing the 9,000 iron sheets that had been left in the stores to various unintended beneficiaries, including ministers and Members of Parliament.

Out of the 9,000 iron sheets, Kitutu allocated herself and took 3,000 iron sheets.

On  January, 12, 2023, Kitutu wrote an Internal memo to the Under Secretary/Accounting Officer of OPM, requesting for the release of 12,200 pieces of iron sheets for distribution to special groups of vulnerable people and Karachunas in Karamoja.

This request was approved for release.

Out of the 12,200, 5,500 iron sheets were released from the OPM stores and distributed amongst several unintended beneficiaries, including Kitutu.

In February 2023, the Accounting Officer in OPM and other security agencies got intelligence alerts that some iron sheets released for Karamoja were being sold on open market in Namisindwa District and others were taken by unintended beneficiaries.

Formal investigations were commenced by the police on February 10  2023 on general enquiry file number 026/2023 to establish the circumstances under which government stores were given and  received by unintended beneficiaries.

Five days later, a formal petition was also lodged with Parliament and a committee was constituted to investigate the same matter.

The committee’s investigations commenced on 27th February 2023.

Investigations confirmed that on June, 17,  2022, Kitutu had directed her Personal Assistant, to pick 3,000 pieces of iron sheets from the OPM stores and deliver them to her home, in Nsooba- Kyebando, the same were received by her daughter in law Ndagire Winfred.

Later Kitutu again directed her personal assistant to pick another 3,000 pieces of iron sheets from

from OPM stores and deliver to her Bulindo home in Kitukutwe, Kira Municipality Wakiso District, Parliamentary SACCO Estate.

Investigations confirmed that the said home at Block 180 Plots 2120 and 2121 at Kitukutwe, Kira Municipality, Wakiso District belongs to Kitutu, having bought it from Uganda Parliamentary SACCO.

A  total of 390 pre-painted iron sheets were later recovered from the homes of Kitutu’s mother (89 iron sheets); her brother  Naboya Kitutu Michael (31 iron sheets); her nephew Wabwire Julius (230 iron sheets); and that of Musuya Loyce.

Another 19 iron sheets were later recovered from Manafwa District in the hardware shop of Wadada Emmanuel-Political Assistant to Wakooli Godfrey Matembu, the  MP for Butiro County.

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