NATIONAL: Karamoja affairs minister, Mary Goretti Kitutu has been handed over to the joint team of the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) and State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) who are probing the mismanagement of relief items meant for the vulnerable in Karamoja region.
Sources privy to the investigations noted that Kitutu was on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, handed over after she reportedly snubbed summons that had been served to her.
This was after Parliament’s Presidential Affairs Committee probing the mismanagement of the relief items on Monday gave Kitutu until today to appear before the legislators or risk arrest.
On Tuesday when she appeared, she was immediately handed over to Parliament CID teams after she declined to take an oath.
Shortly after she had recorded her statement at Parliament, Kitutu was whisked away to CID headquarters.
“She was supposed to have appeared and recorded a statement with us last week, but she kept dodging us. We have since been recording statements from others on charges of abuse of office, theft and diversion among other charges,” the source revealed.
By 7:00 pm, the minister had not yet been released from CID where she was still recording her statement. It was not yet clear whether she would be released on bond or would be detained.
On Monday, February 13, 2023, New Vision broke the story of the arrest Kitutu’s relatives in Namisindwa district and the recovery of the iron sheets by SHACU. On February 12, 2023, detectives from SHACU arrested Kitutu’s relatives in Namisindwa district including her mother, Cotilda Kitutu, a resident of Situumi in Bukhaweka sub-county, her brother Micheal Nabwoya and nephew,Julius Wabule. The trio was arrested after they reportedly sold iron sheets to detectives from SHACU who posed as clients.
Following the expose’ Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) permanent secretary Keith Muhakanizi convened a meeting to try to get to the bottom of the matter.
A subsequent report from the inventory section at the OPM detailed how the iron sheets that were meant for Karamoja were released and shared with the ministers.
The report states that on January 25, 2023, the stores unit at the OPM received authorisation from the undersecretary to release 12,200 G28 corrugated pre-painted iron sheets to OPM.
“The stores unit, thereafter, received phone calls from the office of the Minister for Karamoja Affairs through her personal assistant and senior assistant secretary Karamoja Affairs informing us that he will be sending beneficiaries of the 12,200 iron sheets to pick their consignment and that he will be guiding on the distribution from time to time,” the reports states.
In the report, the senior inventory management officer said: “It is true we based on verbal and WhatsApp communication of the Personal Assistant (PA) to Kitutu to inform our decision to issue to the ministers because we had no reason to doubt the communication from a fellow officer who works directly with the Minister for Karamoja Affairs,” the report indicated.
Over 15 ministers, together with Vice-President Jessica Alupo, Parliament Speaker Anita Among and Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja have already recorded statements over the iron sheet saga.
On Monday, Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga said they had completed their investigations and were now writing a report that would be submitted to the Directorate of Public Prosecution for advice on what charges to prefer.