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Minister Gorreti Kitutu Loses Bid To Block Trial

Iron Sheets Scandal: Minister Gorreti Kitutu Loses Bid To Block Trial

The Anti-Corruption Court has rejected a plea by Karamoja Affairs Minister, Dr Mary Gorreti Kitutu in which she sought to challenge her trial in the iron sheets scandal on grounds of alleged torture.

Lady Justice Jane Okuo Kajuga, presiding over the court on Tuesday, dismissed Kitutu’s application. She stated that it lacked substantial evidence and contained falsehoods.

This is as per consistent statements from police officers that the Minister was not subjected to any form of torture or coercion.

Kitutu, along with her brother Michael Naboya Kitutu and personal assistant Joshua Abaho, face charges of diverting over 10,000 prepainted iron sheets from the Karamoja Community Empowerment Program.

In response to her arraignment, Gorreti Kitutu alleged torture during her time in police custody. She detailed an incident where the Prime Minister summoned her to meet the CID Director.

Instead, she was arrested and interrogated by multiple officers. She claimed denial of legal representation.

She further accused authorities of denying her food and water and subjecting her to various forms of torture.

These included blindfolding and a night-time search for iron sheets in Kayunga district. Kitutu also alleged a targeted media campaign against her, that portrayed her negatively and hindered her a fair trial.

She had requested the court to dismiss the charges against her based on these claims. However, the court, represented by State Attorney Johnson Natuhwera and DPP’s Jonathan Muwaganya, dismissed Kitutu’s claims.

They presented police officers as witnesses with a different narrative of the claimed incidents.

Lady Justice Kajuga ruled that she had found there was no substantiation of abuse or portrayal of guilt in the media. She maintained that as a Minister overseeing Karamoja, her involvement in investigations was anticipated and legitimate.

While acknowledging media reporting’s importance, Kajuga directed investigative authorities to refrain from conducting investigations through media channels. “She was not singled out nor is there any report that says she is guilty. The media cannot be gagged from reporting matters of public concern fairly,” said Kajuga.

She concluded that Kitutu’s claims lacked credibility, dismissing the allegations of torture and rights violations during the investigations.

This decision will see Kitutu’s case proceed to trial. It was previously halted pending the ruling on her torture claims.

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