KAMPALA – As expected – the Director of Public Prosecutions – DPP announced that her office had lost interest in the trial of ministers as well as other top officials suspected to have diverted relief – including iron sheets meant for the vulnerable in the Karamoja sub region.
Impeccable sources revealed that the chapter was trashed on President Yoweri Museveni orders.
DPP Jane Frances Abodo revealed on Saturday that she had lost interest in 17 files relating to the theft and diversion of iron sheets on grounds of lack of evidence to pin the suspects.
Abodo’s tongue-twisting scheme relieves President Museveni’s top associates – including Vice President Jessica Alupo, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, and Speaker Annet Anita Among from the prosecution tag that had separately been placed onto their respective heads for participation in the Karamoja loot saga.
Sources close to the matter have intimated that President Museveni had, after seeking the Attorney General (Kiryowa Kiwanuka’s) advice, decided that the suspects could only return their loot.
“The President said he was only convinced about the culpability of Dr Gorette Kitutu, Agnes Nandutu and Amos Lugoloobi in the saga.
“So – he directed that the other top officials would buy the iron sheets and return them, and the matter ends,” noted the source, adding: “It mean’t that the case had collapsed since most of the implicated suspects bought and returned the iron sheets.”
Justice Abodo on Saturday said that her office had received 40 files from the Police who were working together with the State House Anti-Corruption Unit.
She noted that agents from three institutions had proceeded to investigate the scandal and for effective management – deciding to handle the matter in piecemeal.
Abodo indicated that they discovered that 23 files were directly involving the diversion of iron sheets and were opened against several suspects. She adds that out of the 23, they screened the suspects and found that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed with 17 case files of suspects.
“Seventeen case files have been closed and put away due to insufficiency of evidence. In considering the blameworthiness of the suspects, a number of factors were taken into account including the circumstances under which the iron sheets were received, the manner of use of iron sheets upon receipt, and refunds made in kind and cash,” said Abodo.
Abodo was quick in siding with some of the politicians– insisting their assistants had misled them because they had no knowledge about the iron sheets.
She said some had previously written to the office of the Prime Minister seeking relief items like iron sheets to roof different places for social service provisions but had not been given feedback.
Abodo said that when some of the politicians were interrogated, they thought the items they had requested from the office of the Prime Minister had arrived and put them into use as per their previous requests such as to roof schools, churches, and sub-county headquarters among others.
She said that they have remained with six cases, and so far three files have already been taken to the courts, and the suspects charged.
The files include that of the Karamoja Affairs Minister Mary Goretti Kitutu who is facing, charges of loss of public property, corruption, and receiving stolen property, her brother Michael Naboya Kitutu and the Minister’s Personal Assistant Joshua Abaho.
The other two case files are for the State Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Amos Lugoloobi and Karamoja Affairs State Minister Agnes Nandutu who are separately charged with dealing with suspect property.
Abodo said on Saturday that her office was left with three files that are still under investigation – belonging technocrats but not politicians.