UGANDA, Karamoja | Real Muloodi News | Joshua Abaho, Senior Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs, has been released on bail by the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo after being remanded for five days in Luzira Prison on charges of corruption.
Abaho is accused of conspiring with his boss, Mary Gorreti Kitutu, to defraud the government of iron sheets.
He had been charged with two counts of diverting 14,500 iron sheets meant for the Karamoja subregion for purposes unrelated to their intended use and for the benefit of third parties, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
Chief Magistrate Joan Aciro presided over the case and required each of Abaho’s five sureties to execute a non-cash bond of 150 million shillings.
The sureties included high-ranking officials from various government ministries and organizations such as Kenneth Mugumya Tibaijuka, the education ministry assistant commissioner, Johnson Musinguzi, works ministry assistant commissioner, Geoffrey Ndiwalana, the engineer of Makindye-Ssabagabo Municipal Council, Simon Peter Kasyate, the Kampala Capital City Council Authority director of public and corporate affairs, and Simon Tumwesigye, the Uganda Revenue Authority supervisor in the customs department.
Abaho was charged last week when the case in which Kitutu and her brother Michael Naboya Kitutu returned to court for mention. According to the prosecution, Abaho diverted 5,500 iron sheets of gauge 28 belonging to the State in January 2023 at the office of the Prime Minister’s Stores in Namanve in Mukono District.
The iron sheets were meant for the Karamoja Community Empowerment Programme, but Abaho allegedly diverted them for purposes unrelated to their intended use and for the benefit of third parties. The prosecution alleges that Abaho received the iron sheets by virtue of his position for purposes of custody and distribution under the said program.
It is also alleged that Abaho conspired with his boss Kitutu between June 2022 and January 2023 to defraud beneficiaries of the Karamoja Community Empowerment Program of 9,000 pre-painted iron sheets of Gauge 28.
Abaho denied the charges against him and through his lawyers led by Paul Kutesa asked to be released on bail, arguing that he is innocent and the charges against him are bailable by the Anti-Corruption Court.
Abaho’s lawyer, Paul Kuteesa, further stated that he was the sole breadwinner for his family, which included four young children and an elderly mother. He also presented a certificate of title for a property worth USh600m located in Sonde, Mukono district, as security for his bail. The certificate of title that Abaho presented to the court had a statement of search by the Ministry of Lands dated 2023.
Kuteesa, told the court that Joshua Abaho had a fixed place of abode, and had cooperated with investigations. Kuteesa also argued that Abaho was a junior officer in public service who could not interfere with prosecution witnesses.
Abaho’s release on bail was delivered on May 2, 2023, in the presence of Chief State Attorney David Bisamunyu and Abaho’s lawyer, Paul Kuteesa.
After the ruling, the prosecution led by Jonathan Muwaganya informed the court that the investigations in the case are incomplete and asked to be given a hearing date. The case was adjourned to June 1 for both Abaho, Minister Kitutu, and Naboya to return to court for mention.
The release of Joshua Abaho on bail now leaves State Minister for Karamoja Affairs Agnes Nandutu on remand alone. The others who were charged before but have since been granted bail are Minister Kitutu, her brother Naboya, and Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Amos Lugoloobi.
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