UGANDA, Karamoja | Real Muloodi News | The Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court has granted bail to Agnes Nandutu, the State Minister for Karamoja Affairs.
The granting of Minister Nandutu’s bail comes a day after she was sent back to jail, pending a decision on her bail application after a bail hearing at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo.
Trial Judge Jane Okuo Kajuga rendered her decision on Thursday, granting Ms Nandutu a cash bail of USh10 million while her sureties were bonded at USh50 million each, not cash.
The bail conditions also required Ms Nandutu to deposit two land titles registered in her name to the court and surrender her passport, which means she cannot travel outside the country without the court’s permission.
One of her sureties, Mr Nandala Mafabi, the Budadiri West MP, was also required to surrender the title of his land located in Namugongo, Wakiso District.
The judge noted that Ms Nandutu had convinced court that she suffers from a medical complication that requires a rapid emergency response. The court heard she struggling with severe venous insufficiency, a disease that can cause sudden blood clot formation and requires specialised medical attention.
Justice Kajuga further explained that the evidence by police that the minister had evaded them is hearsay and that court cannot rely on it as she voluntarily surrendered herself to police.
Ms Nandutu is one of the three ministers who have so far been arraigned before courts of law in connection with the alleged diversion of iron sheets meant for vulnerable people in the Karamoja sub-region. The other two ministers are Mary Goretti Kitutu (Karamoja Affairs Minister) and Amos Lugoloobi (State Minister for Finance, Planning, and Economic Development).
The prosecution contends that Ms Nandutu privately dealt with government property, including 2,000 pre-painted iron sheets of gauge 28 marked Office of the Prime Minister, between June and July 2022 at the Office of the Prime Minister’s stores in Namanve, and in Kkola Cell, Bulwanyi Parish, Mukono District.
It further contends that Minister Nandutu received the iron sheets that were acquired as a result of the loss of public property, an offence under Section 10 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2009 as amended.
Other grounds for Ms Nandutu’s release on bail were her having a fixed place of abode at Nantabulirwa Village in Seeta, Mukono District within the jurisdiction of the court, having a young family and elderly parents who all depend on her, bringing sound and substantial sureties, promising to abide by the bail conditions that court will impose on her, and that the offence she is being charged with is bailable.
The judge ruled that Ms Nandutu is a family person with young children and elderly parents to look after and that her attendance can be secured by imposing stringent terms.
To prevent Ms Nandutu from absconding during the trial, Justice Kajuga has directed her to obtain court permission before leaving the country and to continue reporting as required. The trial has been adjourned until May 25, when proceedings will commence.
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