UGANDA, Karamoja | Real Muloodi News | State Minister for Karamoja Affairs Agnes Nandutu has been further remanded to Luzira Prison until Thursday.
Nandutu was on Wednesday arraigned before the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala, where she was formally charged with one count of dealing with suspect property, to which she pleaded not guilty. The court heard that during June 2022, she dealt with government property by receiving and holding 2,000 pre-painted iron sheets.
Nandutu’s lawyers led by Nandaah Charles Wamukota applied for bail on her behalf, citing that the charges against her were bailable by the court. Wamukota argued that Nandutu had substantial sureties, including Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the Budadiri County West MP and former Leader of Opposition in Parliament, who presented bank statements, passport, four land titles, and two registered in the names of Mountain In Limited, a hotel that belongs to him.
The other sureties were Gerald Nangoli, the Member of Parliament and Chairperson of Bugisu Parliamentary Group, and Bududa LCV Chairperson Kamoti Milton Apolo Wasumbuyi. Nandutu’s lawyers also presented two land titles, one for her place of residence, her parliament, and her National Identification Card.
In addition, Nandutu’s lawyers argued that she was a law-abiding citizen with no past criminal record. She reportedly handed herself to the Criminal Investigations Department of Police a day before she was brought for plea-taking and had been reporting there as and when wanted. They also claimed that she was suffering from pressure and needed orthopedic care due to swelling on her entire left foot and obvious depression.
However, the prosecution led by Jonathan Muwaganya asked the court to deny Nandutu bail on the grounds that she was a flight risk. They cited an affidavit sworn by Police Detective Emmanuel Benon Ayebare, who said that Nandutu had previously refused to answer police summons. Muwaganya argued that when Nandutu was summoned by the police, she abandoned her home, and all three known phones were switched off. A search at both her home and farm, and known places of her abode yielded no results as she was suspiciously absent.
The prosecution also claimed that Nandutu’s official vehicle, registration number UG 0913Z, was abandoned at CID Kibuli. Her official driver, Corporal Patrick Kunya, revealed that he was last in touch with Nandutu on April 14th, 2023, on the date she had been summoned to the police, and he didn’t know her whereabouts until she was formally arrested on April 18th, 2023. The prosecution argued that given Nandutu’s previous conduct, she was very likely to abscond if released on bail.
Muwaganya also claimed that only Mafabi demonstrated the financial capacity to compel Nandutu to return for trial. The prosecution argued that the ability to compel one to return for trial could not be presumed but demonstrated in terms of the influence that they yield over the accused.
The prosecution also disputed that Nandutu was sick, as she only brought an internal Memo written by a Police Doctor addressed to his bosses and not her.
Lady Justice Jane Okuo Kajuga presided over the case and ruled that Nandutu be further remanded to Luzira Prison until Thursday for a hearing on her bail application.
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