Ex-Uganda netball federation president Sarah Kityo remanded over Shs186m fraud

The former Uganda Netball Federation president, Ms Sarah Babirye Kityo (R) being escorted by a prison warder to the the Anti-Corruption Court holding cells  after she was remanded on November 30, 2023. PHOTO/ JULIET KIGONGO

What you need to know:

  • Babirye Kityo who was rearrested on Wednesday evening and arraigned before Grade One Magistrate, Christopher Opito of the Anticorruption Court in Kampala on Thursday denied charges of fraudulent false accounting.

The embattled former Uganda Netball Federation (UNF) president, Sarah Babirye Kityo has been remanded to Luzira Prison on charges of fraud over alleged false accountability of Shs186 million.

Ms Kityo who was rearrested on Wednesday evening and arraigned before Grade One Magistrate, Christopher Opito of the Anticorruption Court in Kampala on Thursday denied charges of fraudulent false accounting.

Uganda Netball Federation president remanded to prison over Shs16m fraud
Mr Opito remanded Ms Kityo until tomorrow (December 1) for ruling on her bail application following her arrest and detetntion on Wednesday evening. The magistrate said that the remand was to enable the prosecution to verify the documents presented by the sureties for Ms Kityo.  

“State is hereby granted leave (permission) to verify the identity card for Ms Diana Tumukunde and the certificate of incorporation for Mr Daniel Ntare who are sureties for the applicant,” Mr Opito ruled.
The magistrate’s decision followed a request by state prosecutor, Ms Gloria Inzikuru to be allowed more time to verify the authenticity of the identity documents presented by Ms Kityo’s sureties.

The prosecutor reasoned that the sureties presented, especially her husband, Mr Ntare, also the director of Jodana Sports Management have confusing residences and had not identified their businesses to show their financial status to stand as substantial sureties.
“Your worship according to the court record, the applicant is a resident of Maya while the husband is a resident of Lubaga and yet they say they have been staying together until the arrest of the applicant,” Ms Inzikuru.
She also told the court that investigations into the case are still on going.

Ms Kityo through her lawyer, Mr Joseph Luzige, applied for bail reasoning that she has a fixed place of abode within the jurisdiction of court and that her sureties are substantial.

“The charges against the applicant are subject to so many investigations by the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Auditor General and the Criminal Investigations Department and she has not in any way run away from the charges,” Mr Luzige told court.
Mr Luzige also explained that although the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) describes his client as a former Netball Federation president, she is still in the same position.

Prosecution case
According to the charge sheet, between the months of November and December 2021 at Uganda Netball Federation with intent to defraud, Ms Kityo and others still at large made or was privy to making false accountability in request to Shs186, 374,110 released by National Council of Sports to the Federation for pent series and African National Championship in Namibia.

Second case
Ms Kityo is also on bail on other charges of obtaining Shs16 million by false pretence before the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court.

The development comes weeks after the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni last month ordered the National Council of Sports (NCS to keep the Uganda Netball Federation (UNF) president Sarah Babirye Kityo out of office following questions of accountability which saw her suspended.

In a letter dated October 4, 2023, Janet Museveni asked NCS to "formally direct NCS who are the regulators of sports in Uganda, to execute and invoke the relevant provisions of the law to ensure strict compliance of the same in respect to UNF.”
"To immediately withdraw the certificate of recognition from the UNF, should they fail to meet the requirements of a national sports federation," the statement adds.

Earlier this year, Janet Museveni chaired two meetings with Babirye and other netball officials, the minister of state for sports, attorney general, the Inspectorate of Government, ministry officials and NCS.

That April meeting resolved that Babirye take a leave of absence until investigations by the auditor general’s office and Police’s Criminal Investigations Department are concluded.

However, Babirye earlier returned to office on July 21 before the issue was resolved. She claimed to have served her 90-day leave.

This caused a fracas at the federation offices as security personnel deployed by the acting president Brig. Gen. Flavia Byekwaso were asked to stand following a string of phone calls that eloped in the minister of internal affairs Gen. Kahinda Otafiire.