• Sun. May 28th, 2023

UGANDA, Karamoja | Real Muloodi NewsSenior Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs, Joshua Abaho, has been remanded to Luzira Prison until May 2, 2023, over the diversion of iron sheets meant for vulnerable communities in the Karamoja sub-region.

The Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala accused Abaho of conspiring with his superior, the Minister of Karamoja Affairs, Mary Gorreti Kitutu, to defraud the government of its Karamoja iron sheets.

Abaho was charged with two counts of corruption and one count of conspiracy to defraud.

The prosecution alleges that Minister Kitutu and Mr Abaho were involved in a conspiracy to defraud beneficiaries of the Karamoja community empowerment program by diverting 9,000 pre-painted iron sheets between June 2022 and January 2023. On the charge of corruption, Mr Abaho is accused of personally diverting 5,500 iron sheets from the intended beneficiaries. However, he denies all charges against him.

If convicted of corruption, Mr Abaho faces up to 10 years in jail, or a fine of USh4.8m, or both.

During the court session, Mr Abaho’s lawyer, Paul Kutesa, applied for his client’s release on bail. This request was made after the court had remanded Mr Abaho to custody following his arraignment on charges of corruption and conspiracy to defraud.

Mr Kutesa argued that his client was a law-abiding citizen who had presented a certificate of land title to demonstrate that he had ties to the community and would not flee. He also presented four sureties who vouched for Mr Abaho’s character and promised to ensure his appearance in court.

However, the prosecution led by David Bisamunyu and Jonathan Muwaganya opposed Mr Abaho’s release on bail, citing the evaluation report of the land title presented.

The report showed the land is registered as a Private Mailo in his name and it shows two plots of land yet they have brought only one land title.

They also argued that the sureties presented by Mr Kutesa did not meet the required rules of the court and were not able to execute the court bond in the range of USh200m, should Mr Abaho abscond. As a result, they urged the court to reject Mr Kutesa’s bail application.

Abaho is the fourth suspect to be charged in the Karamoja iron sheets scandal, which has also implicated his superior Mary Gorreti Kitutu and her brother Michael Naboya Kitutu who were previously charged and granted bail, Finance and Economic Planning Minister Amos Lugoloobi, and State Minister for Karamoja Affairs Agnes Nandutu

The case is still under investigation, and Abaho remains in prison until May 2, 2023, when his next hearing is scheduled.


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