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State Minister Agnes Nandutu arrested over mabati scandal

Ms Agnes Nandutu, a former house help and journalist at NTV Uganda, was on April 18, 2023, arrested and detained at he Kira Divison Police Station in Kampala after she handed herself in to the CID for questioning. She exited NTV Uganda when she was appointed the State Minister for Karamoja Affairs.

Her arrest was linked to an ongoing mabati scandal in which 14,500 mabatis (iron sheets) meant for vulnerable people were stolen by senior government officials. According to the Monitor publication in Uganda, 20 ministers and 35 other legislators were linked to the theft.

“A number of senior ministers, including the Vice President Jessica Alupo, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, the speaker of Parliament Anita Among and the finance minister, Matia Kasaija are among the most senior ministers to have received the iron sheets,” reported the Monitor.

Ms Ndutu surrendering herself to the police was welcomed by security officials who thanked her for not wasting their time and resources that would have been used to find her.

“The Hon. Minister of State handed herself over to the Police at CID Headquarters Kibuli, where she was assigned detectives to take her statement.

She is currently being held at Kira Division Police station. The file has been submitted to the office of the DPP for further guidance and possible sanctioning.

We thank Hon. Agnes Nandutu for handing herself over to the Police, upon learning of the allegations under investigation. This action has saved Police time and resources and it is worth emulating when in similar circumstances,” said the Deputy Police Spokesperson, CP Polly Namaye.

Prior to surrendering, Ms Ndutu had on several occasions failed to show up for questioning after being accused of office and theft of iron sheets meant of the Karamoja Sub Region people.

A handful of ministers were remanded in prison after being arrested and taken into custody. This was after President Yoweri Museveni ordered the members of his cabinet to either return the mabati they stole or pay the cash equivalent of the mabati they are believed to have secreted away.

Calls continue to increase for sanctioning all government employees and technocrats implicated in this mabati scandal.