Karamoja affairs minister Mary Goretti Kitutu has been handed over to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) and State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) regarding the Karamoja iron sheet case.
The handing over of Minister Kitutu was a result of the mismanagement of relief items meant for the underprivileged in the Karamoja region.
According to reports, on Tuesday, Ms. Kitutu was handed over to the CID after she reportedly ignored summons that had been served to her. The Presidential Affairs Committee of Parliament, which inquired about the mismanagement of the relief items, summoned Kitutu on Monday to appear before them today.
According to the committee’s head, Ms. Jesca Ababiku, they have sent two invitations, and the reason she hasn’t shown up yet was that she asked them to do so. She explained that she was coming before CID on Friday of last week.
Ms. Jesca continued by saying that they gave Kitutu several opportunities to appear before them. They were confident that Kitut would appear before them on Tuesday. They even decided to take the necessary steps if she isn’t cooperating. Kitutu is the minister in charge of the Karamoja region and is one of the key witnesses in the case.
According to rule 208 of the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure, a committee may order the arrest and detention of an uncooperative witness for an investigation by a competent authority or cite anyone for contempt of Parliament over carrying out its duties.
Ms. Jesca added that before beginning to write their report on Tuesday, her committee wanted to speak with roughly eight ministries. Although the legislation was running behind schedule, the committee was under pressure to produce a thorough report by a strict deadline.
Earlier last month, Ms. Kitutu appeared before the same Committee and expressed regret for the diversion of iron sheets. She was scheduled to make a second appearance last Friday to provide additional information regarding the purported recipients of the iron sheets.
Finally, after three to the scheduled date, she appeared before the committee on Tuesday and immediately handed over to CID after she declined to take an oath. After recording her statements at Parliament, Kitutu was taken away to the CID headquarters. There are further continuing parallel investigations taking place by the CID regarding the iron sheet case.
A minister at the center of the damaging investigation declined yesterday to respond to MP’s queries under oath, a day after police declared they had concluded their investigations into the massive Karamoja iron sheets scandal in which several key government officials have been named.
The accused include speaker Anita Among, vice president Jessica Alupo, prime minister Robinah Nabbanja, 22 ministries, 31 members of parliament, and 13 district chief administrative officers. Depending on how the Directorate of Public Prosecution interprets the police findings, they might be prosecuted in court.
Ms. Among purchased 500 iron sheets a few weeks ago intending to return them to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Accusations that the Karamoja minister improperly distributed to her colleagues’ thousands of iron sheets intended to assist in the resettling of Karimojong warriors.
It was part of the government’s effort to improve livelihoods alongside its disarmament program in the unrest-ridden Karamoja subregion, which was met with a deafening silence by the minister.
Last week, Ms. Kitutu ignored two previous invitations to testify before the committee. The minister was cautious in her remarks while hiding her face. She sternly explained that she did not accept the second invitation since she was out of town and did not receive the first one over WhatsApp in time because she was ill.
When Ms. Jesca inquired about her relatives’ involvement in the case, she responded that she didn’t know anything and had no information regarding it. According to the reports, her mother, brother, and nephew allegedly got in trouble for stealing the iron sheets.
Ms. Kitutu declined to comment on the recent assertion made by accused ministers that she had given them iron sheets without their request.
The lawmakers were irritated by her short remarks and determined that the minister should be brought in. She emphasized that she had no response as she declined to take the oath. Witnesses must be truthful on oath, otherwise, they could get in trouble.
Iron sheets and other relief supplies sent for Karamoja are allegedly missing from Ms. Kitutu’s possession, some of which she was believed to have diverted to unauthorized parties.
Ms. Jesca instructed Kitutu to record a statement with the CID office of Parliament after Kitutu declined to take the oath. The committee summoned some of the alleged unintended beneficiaries after Ms. Kitutu led out from the afternoon meeting. Nabakooba.
In February this year, Minister Kitutu’s mother, brother, and Nephew were arrested in Namisindwa by the SHACU. The arrest was after they reportedly sold iron sheets to officers in SHACU.
According to the police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga, the police had completed their investigation, and the reports on the case are under progress and would be submitted later to the Directorate of Public Prosecution.