Anti-Corruption Court Halts Kitutu’s Trial

Saturday, August 12, 2023
Minister Mary Gorreti Kitutu Kimono. PHOTO/COURTESY
4 Min Read

Kampala, Uganda | The Black Examiner – The Anti-Corruption Court has suspended the trial involving Mary Gorreti Kitutu Kimono, the Minister of Karamoja Affairs, who stands accused of contributing to the misappropriation of public property due to her alleged role in diverting iron sheets.

High Court Justice Jane Okuo Kajuga, presiding over the case, brought the trial to a halt on Friday. The decision was prompted by an application submitted by Kitutu, in which she contests the trial based on claims of torture and multiple violations of her human rights while in police custody.

Kitutu faces charges alongside her brother Michael Naboya Kitutu and her Personal Assistant Joshua Abaho.

According to the Prosecution, the alleged offenses occurred between June 2022 and January 2023 at the Prime Minister’s Stores in Namanve, Mukono District. Kitutu is accused of diverting 9,000 prepainted iron sheets of Gauge 28, originally intended for the Karamoja Community Empowerment Program, for personal and third-party gain, leading to the loss of said property.

Another allegation suggests that Kitutu, along with her Personal Assistant Abaho, diverted 5,500 iron sheets in January 2023. These sheets were subsequently received by third parties, despite Abaho’s responsibility for their safekeeping.

The Prosecution claims that Kitutu’s brother, Naboya, received 100 iron sheets in Namisindwa district, part of the diverted items.

In her application targeting the Attorney General, Kitutu details her apprehension on April 3rd, 2023. She asserts that following a directive from Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, she met CID Director Tom Magambo to avoid forceful arrest. Yet, upon arriving at CID Kibuli, she was immediately detained and interrogated by nine police officers. Kitutu’s phones were confiscated, and she was taken to the Parliamentary Committee on Presidential Affairs the next day, where she was compelled to take an oath without the presence of her lawyers.

During her three-day detention, Kitutu claims she was denied sustenance and subjected to various forms of torture, including being blindfolded and taken to Kayunga District at night in search of the iron sheets. She maintains these tactics aimed to extract false confessions.

Kitutu alleges a government-led media campaign against her, resulting in prejudicial statements in the press and on social media platforms. She argues this concerted effort compromised her rights and portrayed her unfairly.

Kitutu’s lawyers, headed by Jude Byamukama, have requested the court to suspend the trial until the application against the Attorney General is resolved.

Prosecution representative State Attorney Jonathan Muwaganya, however, urges dismissal of the application, contending that the issue of human rights violation should have been raised during the ongoing proceedings. Muwaganya emphasizes the distinct nature of the application, which he argues is unrelated to the current trial.

Justice Kajuga ruled in favor of halting the trial to address the issues of fundamental human rights raised by Kitutu. She set a hearing date for the application on September 19th, 2023, and indicated that the main case would continue to be mentioned until the application’s resolution. The main case trial is scheduled for September 14th, 2023.



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