The Minister for Karamoja, Mary Goretti Kitutu will spend the Easter holiday at Luzira prison after the Anti-Corruption Court deferred its ruling on her bail application.
“Because this application has been lengthy which require me to peruse through authorities cited and affidavits, I will more time to come up with a ruling,” the trial chief magistrate, Joan Aciro said.
She set Wednesday, April, 12 as the date to give her ruling on bail.
Charged with three counts related to corruption, conspiracy to defraud and loss of government property in relation to the diverted Karamoja iron sheets, the minister through her lawyers led by Michael Wamasebu and Jude Byamukama asked court to release her on bail since it is her constitutional right.
The lawyers told court that the minister is a very prominent member of society who cannot fail to return to court if released on bail.
“To show seriousness, the applicant is ready to deposit in court two titles of land in Wakiso. She suffers from a heart disease with left ventricle stiffness. It is a heart condition which exacerbates when she is under duress just like it is now,”Wamasebu said.
The lawyers told court that she is released on bail to ensure she returns to hospital for medical review on April, 15.
Kitutu’s lawyers said it is prudent that she is granted bail since investigations into the matter are still ongoing , noting that no one is sure of when the trial will kick off.
“She is a law abiding citizen who will not interfere with investigations if released on bail.”
Four surties including Kitutu’s husband, George Michael Kitutu, Amb. Simon Mulongo, Mbale City North MP Seth Wambede and Dr.Joel Wandawa, a plastic surgeon working with Kiruddu hospital.
“We ask that court considers granting bail to our clients on conditions which are just.”
In response to the application, the state prosecutors led by Josephine Namatovu and Jonathan Muwaganya told court that if released on bail, the minister risks interfering with witnesses, some of whom are her relatives who are ready to pin her in the matter.
“She already obstructed investigators in this case by preventing her mother Kotilda Kitutu in whose house some of the iron sheets were recovered from recording a statement. This is a clear demonstration of her intent to interfere with investigations,” Namatovu told court.
“She has capacity to interfere with witnesses some of whom are her relatives including sister in law, niece and daughter in law who are incidentally on the run.”
The state said Minister Kitutu risks not returning to court as required if granted bail, arguing that when she was asked by her supervisor, the Prime Minister to report to police over the iron sheets saga, she declined.
The prosecutors said this was evidence enough of her impunity.
The state also noted that whereas the minister’s lawyers had stated that she has a heart illness, the person who signed the doctor’s notes was a mere physician, noting that there is no evidence of him being a specialist in her diseases.
The prosecutors asked court to deny bail to the minister since the offence she committed touches denying a right to decent housing to the people of Karamoja.
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