The Prosecution has prepared seven witnesses to provide testimony in the case involving State Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Amos Lugoloobi. The case pertains to the alleged diversion of iron sheets originally intended for vulnerable individuals in the Karamoja region.
According to the Prosecution, Minister Lugoloobi is accused of handling 700 pre-painted iron sheets labeled as ‘Office of the Prime Minister’ at various locations, including the Office of the Prime Minister Stores in Namanve, Mukono District, Matugga in Wakiso District, and Ntejeru North Constituency in Kayunga District.
These iron sheets were obtained in two separate phases. The first phase involved 400 iron sheets acquired between July 14, 2022, and February 2023, while the second phase included 300 iron sheets obtained between February 1, 2023, and March 16, 2023. Subsequently, Minister Lugoloobi was arrested and charged with dealing with suspect property. In July 2023, he was committed by the Chief Magistrates Court to stand trial.
Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Josephine Namatovu, informed the Court today that seven witnesses are prepared to testify when the case resumes next week. She also mentioned that she received Minister Lugoloobi’s appointment letter late, preventing her from responding when the matter was initially raised in the morning. The Prosecution intends to use the appointment letter as one of the documents to establish that Lugoloobi misused his office.
The case has been adjourned until October 25 for the commencement of the trial. Minister Lugoloobi’s lawyer, John Isabirye, confirmed that their legal team is ready to defend the minister during the upcoming proceedings.
In the event of conviction, Minister Lugoloobi could face a seven-year jail term, a fine not exceeding 160 currency points (equivalent to 3.2 million Ugandan Shillings), or both. He is one of three ministers facing trial in connection with the Karamoja iron sheets scandal. The other two ministers are State Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Agness Nandutu, and Senior Minister Mary Gorreti Kitutu, who is jointly charged with her brother, Michael Naboya Kitutu, on six charges related to causing the loss of property and conspiracy to defraud the government of Uganda.
It is worth noting that an additional 17 prominent politicians, including Members of Parliament, Ministers, the Speaker of Parliament, and the Vice President, who were initially implicated in the same scandal, have had their case files closed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Jane Frances Abodo, due to insufficient evidence.