• Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

UGANDA, Kololo | Real Muloodi News | In the ongoing trial against Karamoja Affairs Minister Mary Goretti Kitutu, a judge at the Anti-Corruption Court has issued a ban on live broadcasts from inside the courtroom.

The trial involves Minister Kitutu, her Senior Assistant Secretary Joshua Abaho, and her brother Michael Naboya Kitutu, who appeared in court recently to take a plea after being committed to the High Court for trial.

During the court appearance, all three individuals pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them. Minister Kitutu is facing two counts of loss of public property and one count of conspiracy to defraud.

The state alleges that these actions caused the loss of 9,000 pre-painted iron sheets, intended for the Karamoja Community Empowerment Programme.

On a separate charge, Abaho is accused of embezzlement of USh2 billion, while Kitutu’s brother faces a charge of receiving stolen property.

The decision to ban live broadcasts inside the court was made following a request from Minister Kitutu’s lawyer, James Akampumuza.

The lawyer sought an order for court reporters to limit their reporting to only what transpires in court, without making biased conclusions about the matter.

Additionally, the use of cameras in court, except for court use and specifically for non-released images, has been disallowed.

Justice Jane Okuo Kajuga emphasised the importance of balancing the right to access information with the need for a fair trial.

While the court recognises the right to access information, some limits can be placed on its exercise to ensure a fair and impartial trial.

Audio recording of the trial will be allowed, subject to safety checks, but live broadcast images from the court, including participants such as clerks, assessors, court officers, witnesses, and the accused, will not be permitted.

The judge also underscored that the journalists covering the trial should refrain from biased reporting.

The defence raised concerns about the possibility of media relaying distorted images from the court, and while the court acknowledged these concerns, it noted that images are generally what they are and should be broadcast accurately.

A summary of the evidence presented in court indicates that in 2021, the Karamoja ministry, led by Minister Kitutu, received a supplementary budget of over USh39 billion for disarmament, pacification, and peace-building programs in the region.

The funds were intended to purchase goats and iron sheets for distribution to youth warriors (karachunas), the elderly, and other vulnerable individuals.

The trial judge has scheduled the case for a hearing on August 11, as the court seeks to fairly and transparently address the charges brought against the defendants.


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Court Rejects Minister Kitutu’s Brother Appeal to Transfer Iron Sheets Corruption Case