KAMPALA– Anti Corruption High Court judge, Jane Okuo Kajuga on Tuesday dismissed an application which was filed by Hon. Mary Gorretti Kimono Kituttu , the Minister in charge of Karamoja Affairs under the office of the Prime Minister in which she was seeking to block her trial on charges relating to diversion of Karamoja iron sheets.
Kituttu who is charged with together with Abaho Joshua, Senior Assistant Secretary (OPM) and Nabova Kitutu Micheal with the offenses of Loss of Public Property contrary to section 10 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009 (as amended) and Conspiracy to defraud Contrary to Section 309 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 120.
These were charged in Magistrates court , denied the charges and upon being committed to High court for trial , the Minister through her lawyers petitioned court that the whole process consists of violation of her rights.
in her ruling , justice Kajuga noted that after analyzing the submissions of both sides she didn’t find any means through which Kituttu’s rights were violated.
“These articles do not reflect that the applicant was targeted and portrayed as guilty. She was not singled out neither is there any report that says she is guilty. As the Minister responsible for Karamoja it is expected that she would be at the center of the investigations. The media cannot be gagged from reporting matters of public concern fairly.” ruled the judge on the point that Kittutu was portrayed as guilty according to media articles.
She was however concerned about the level of information in the hands of the media, especially regarding ongoing investigations is a matter for concern and thus ordered the Director CID and other investigating bodies to stop handling their business in the media.
“Lastly, I agree with the respondents that the enquiry of the parliamentary
committee is not for the purpose of criminal sanctions, and cannot be equated to the functions of the CID ,different bodies may investigate a matter, though for different purposes. For this reason I have not found it necessary to address the issue of right to counsel during proceedings.”
Lady Justice Kajuga further stated that in a trial where the accused’s rights are infringed upon, the court must declare the trial a nullity and that any person alleging such violation has the duty to court to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that her non derrogable rights have been violated as pleaded. The applicant in this matter failed to discharge the burden.
The application was handled by Johnson Natuhwera – Senior State Attorney, Jacky Amusogut – State Attorney and Crispus Nakwera – State Attorney; in the Attorney General’s Chambers.