Court sets ruling date over Karamoja iron sheets prosecutions
What you need to know:
- Mabirizi notes that Accounting Officers are the ones supposed to be held accountable not ministers
Justice Lawrence Gidudu of the High Court Anti-Corruption Division has set July 4 as a date when he will deliver his ruling on the case in which Lawyer Male Mabirizi is seeking to halt investigations, arrests and prosecution of different people in the Karamoja iron sheet saga.
In his application, Mr Mabirizi states that some suspects who include the Vice President, Speaker, Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament and Members of Local Government Councils are not holders of offices in the public service and hence cannot be held criminally liable as such.
He further notes that Accounting Officers are the ones supposed to be held accountable and that recycling of one case of 14,500 iron sheets into multiple files is designed by President Museveni to derogate the accused persons' right to a fair hearing.
However, the attorney general in response indicates that Mabirizi is not a competent person to bring this application to court.
Ms Josephine Namatovu from the DPP office explained that police are conducting investigations under her guidance and in the proper exercise of her constitutional mandate against several individuals suspected to have participated in the diversion of the iron sheets with some of them being charged before the court.
“I know that the individuals who are suspected to have participated in the diversion and mismanagement of iron sheets played separate roles on different occasions at divergent locations and under different circumstances. The decision to separately prosecute them is guided by law and evidence,” she noted.
She explained that it is not true that the Vice President, Speaker, Prime Minister, Ministers, MPs and members of the local government are immune to criminal investigations and prosecutions as the arrests, interrogations, and trials of the suspects in the Karamoja Iron sheet saga cannot be visited on the accounting officer as the said actions are still subject to police investigations.
Some of the ministers that have so far been charged include; Ms Mary Goretti Kitutu (Karamoja Affairs Minister) and Amos Lugoloobi (State Minister for Finance, Planning, and Economic Development) and Ms Agnes Nandutu (State Minister for Karamoja Affairs).