UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The trial of State Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Agnes Nandutu, implicated in the stolen iron sheets intended for vulnerable people in Karamoja, has faced yet another delay.
The High Court in Kampala presided over by Lady Justice Jane Okuo Kajuga, has failed to commence the hearing for the fifth time in two months due to various reasons.
During the hearing, on Tuesday, July 4th 2023, the parties involved in the case appeared before Grade One Magistrate Esther Asiimwe but it was still adjourned.
Nandutu was initially charged with dealing in suspect property and remanded to Luzira Prison on April 19th, 2023.
After completing investigations, she was granted bail on May 4th, 2023. The trial was scheduled to begin on May 25th, 2023.
However, Nandutu’s lawyers, Evans Ochieng and Caleb Alaka objected to the trial, arguing that the charges against their client were imprecise and vague, potentially violating her right to a fair hearing.
The prosecution, led by Jonathan Muwaganya and David Bisamunyu, opposed the defence’s application, asserting that the charges against Nandutu were clear and did not require constitutional interpretation.
The application was dismissed on May 29th, 2023, and Judge Kajuga ordered the immediate commencement of the trial.
However, Nandutu’s lawyers requested more time to study the ruling, leading to another adjournment to June 8th, 2023.
On June 8th, the court learned that one of the defence lawyers, Caleb Alaka, was unwell, further delaying the proceedings.
The case was then rescheduled for June 16th, 2023. On that day, the prosecution informed the court that some of their witnesses, who were ready to testify, had been arrested by the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) on charges related to the embezzlement of funds for a peace initiative program in the Karamoja region.
On Tuesday, July 4th 2023, however, the case was adjourned to July 27th, 2023, without any specific reason being provided.
It is worth noting that Judge Kajuga, who was initially assigned to the case, was unable to preside over it due to other commitments, including overseeing a pre-bargain session in prison.
Nandutu is facing charges of dealing in suspect property in connection with the notorious iron sheet scandal at the Prime Minister’s Office.
The prosecution alleges that in June 2022, at the Prime Minister’s Stores in Namanve and Kkola Cell Bulwanyi Parish, Mukono District, Nandutu received and held 2,000 stolen pre-painted iron sheets Gauge 28, which were acquired through the loss of public property. This offence falls under section 10 of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2000, as amended.
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