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State opposed to minister Kitutu's court request to travel abroad

Minister for Karamoja Affairs Mary Gorreti Kitutu Kimono

Minister for Karamoja Affairs Mary Gorreti Kitutu Kimono

The minister for Karamoja Affairs Mary Gorreti Kitutu Kimono has asked the Anti-Corruption court to grant her permission to leave the country so as to go and execute state obligations.

Kitutu, who is jointly charged with her brother, Michael Naboya Kitutu, and her personal assistant Joshua Abaho today Friday appeared before justice Jane Okuo Kajuga following her application filed earlier on Wednesday via the electronic system.

Through her lawyer, Jude Byamukama, she told court that she was granted bail on April 14, 2023, by chief magistrate, Joan Aciro and committed to face trial on  June 29, 2023, and that her right to free movement cannot be restricted because she is still presumed innocent.

She argues that as a minister for Karamoja Affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), she is required to attend high-level meetings and conferences both within and outside Uganda on behalf of the government of Uganda.

Records show that Kitutu has been formally invited and cleared by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to travel to London, United Kingdom for 13 days to attend the 10th anniversary of Inzu Yamasaba UK from November 23 to December 5, 2023. 

"The applicant deems these scheduled high-level meetings and many others of great significance and is part of her official duties and responsibilities that require constant travel outside the jurisdiction from time to time," her lawyer submitted.

Byamukama told court that Kitutu would not abscond from the trial because she had already demonstrated her commitment to this criminal matter by attending all previous court hearing sessions. The court also heard that Kitutu is married, has parliamentary responsibilities of serving and representing the people of Manafwa as their Woman MP, and possesses sureties that will ensure that she doesn't abscond from court obligations.

However, in response, the prosecution led by state attorney Jonathan Muwaganya asked the court to dismiss the application, saying that Kitutu’s absence would likely cause technical difficulties in the determination of her application seeking to enforce her human rights.

Besides this, Muwaganya said her absence will also cause undue delay to the criminal case which has two other accused persons who have a right to a fair and expeditious trial. Muwaganya was relying on an affidavit by Sarafina Bireke, a senior state attorney in the office of the director of public prosecutions (DPP) who says that Kitutu going for travels is personal in nature and not a matter of necessity.

"The applicant cannot practically attend both events, that is the Imuka event between November 23rd to December 5th, 2023 in London and the NFP event between November 24th to December 12th, 2023 in Dubai," said Muwaganya.

According to Muwaganya, court business takes precedence over all other businesses except in exceptional circumstances, and on September 22, 2023, Kitutu was in court but never raised any concerns about her likely absence from the court on the dates in issue. 

The court has heard that there is no evidence adduced to justify the grant of permission to travel and in the interest of justice, the application should be dismissed. The judge fixed October 3 as the date for ruling on the matter. The criminal trial for Kitutu and her co-accused has since stalled after it was halted to first resolve the issue of whether she was tortured in state custody.

The prosecution alleges that between the months of June 2022 and January 2023 at the OPM stores, Namanve, Mukono district, Kitutu caused the loss of public property in the form of 9,000 prepainted iron sheets by diverting them from the intended purpose of benefiting the Karamoja Community Empowerment Program to her own benefit and to the benefit of third parties having reason to believe that such act would lead into loss of the said property.

It is also alleged that while at the same place, in January 2023, Kitutu and her personal assistant, Abaho diverted 5,500 iron sheets for unrelated purposes and they ended up being received by third parties yet he was charged with the duty of keeping them in good and safe custody as the receiver.

According to the prosecution, Kitutu's brother, Naboya received 100 pieces of iron sheets while in Namisindwa district which was part of those that the minister and Abaho had connived to divert.


+3 #1 Mubiru 2023-09-29 23:18
Several Uganda ministers motivated by short-term thinking assume that their self important presumption frees them from being treated like other Ugandans.

It would be funny if it wasn't dispiriting for a Minister to waste Court time and ask it to be allowed to attend an occasion and enjoy herself when she is facing a very serious case of theft.

This woman knows very well that torture of people in Uganda let alone mere suspects like her is the recognised policy of her government.

Yet she wants to be carried shoulder high as a special when she claims that she was tortured as if Kakwenza wasn't a human being like her.

Omusinga Charles Mumbere who is by far of a higher status in Uganda than this woman has just been released after spending over 6 years in solitary detention.

That is the worst torture ever meted to any person in Uganda let alone a respectable Kind like Mumbere. As if that wasn't torture enough the King was told that he had no case to answer !!
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+3 #2 Erik Aamot 2023-09-30 00:21
if Minister Kitutu does not need to attend a function until November, and she is not convicted of her crimes, then she can attend if Museveni still wants her to

as the court rightly points out, she can not attend both functions at the same time and the court finds that these trips are of a personal nature

The idea that prison officials would torture a Minister seems implausible, torture is reserved for political opposition

It is surprising she was granted bail considering the seriousness of the charges. She is clearly a flight risk and should have her passport taken
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+2 #3 George Tumuhimbise 2023-09-30 05:27
Listening to President Museveni recently one would imagine he is deluded.

While he vows to crush the corrupt, he at the same time feels cozy laying in the same bed with likes of Kitutu, Lugolobi and Nandutu.

The indicted ministers must be feeling betrayed by their mentor! Kitutu is aiming at getting his passport and fleeing the country like the former minister for gender. All because we have an ineffective executive.
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+4 #4 daniel 2023-09-30 12:29
When you are charged with a crime, you are no longer a free person.

You don't have the same liberties as everyone else. That is the simple truth. To suggest that she should go to London to attend....Wamasaaba...a Karamoja Minister. No That is not reason enough.
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