UGANDA, Karamoja | Real Muloodi News | State Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Agnes Nandutu, through her lawyers, Alaka & Co. Advocates and Nandaah Wamukoota & Co. Advocates, has filed a petition with the Constitutional Court, seeking an order to halt her corruption trial involving iron sheets.
The trial, scheduled to begin on 25th May 2023 at the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court in Kololo, Kampala, has prompted Nandutu to question the clarity and definition of the charges brought against her.
In her petition, filed on 24th May 2023, Nandutu’s lawyers argue that the offence she is charged with, dealing with suspect property, lacks a precise definition as the Constitution requires.
Nandutu’s lawyers assert that the elements and ingredients outlined in Section 21 A(2) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009, as amended, are ambiguous, vague, and overly broad, failing to meet the constitutional standards outlined in Article 28(12) of the 1995 Constitution.
Furthermore, Nandutu contends that Section 21 A(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2015, under which she was charged, is imprecise for penal legislation.
Her lawyers emphasise that a fair trial necessitates precision and clarity in defining a criminal offence.
According to the minister, the current ambiguity allows arbitrary arrests and detentions by the police and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), based on assumptions of owning suspect property without reasonable suspicion.
Additionally, Nandutu requests a permanent injunction restraining the DPP from prosecuting her until her petition is heard and determined.
Sources familiar with the minister’s legal team stated that they would request the court to halt the trial until the Constitutional Court has addressed the issues raised by Nandutu’s lawyers.
In the previous month, the former journalist-turned-politician was charged and remanded to Luzira prison for her alleged involvement in dealing with suspect property related to the Karamoja iron sheets scandal. After nearly three weeks, she was released on bail, paying a sum of USh10 million.
According to the prosecution’s case, between June and July 2022, Nandutu was accused of dealing with government property—specifically, 2,000 pre-painted iron sheets of gauge 28, labelled ‘Office of the Prime Minister.’
The alleged transactions occurred at the Office of the Prime Minister’s stores in Namanve and Kkola Cell, Bulwanyi Parish, Mukono District.
The DPP contends that Nandutu knowingly received and held the iron sheets, suspecting them to be acquired through the loss of public property, an offence under Section 10(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2009, as amended.
Nandutu is one of three ministers who have been arraigned before the courts in connection with the alleged diversion of iron sheets intended for the vulnerable population of Karamoja. The other two ministers facing similar charges are Dr Mary Goretti Kitutu (Karamoja Affairs) and Mr Amos Lugoloobi (State for Finance, Planning, and Economic Development).
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