Ugandan Minister Mary Gorrety remanded in iron sheets theft case
Mary Goretti Kitutu Kimono, Uganda’s Minister for the north-eastern Karamoja region, will not be celebrating Easter with her family this year.
Instead, she will spend the holiday behind bars after being charged with stealing thousands of metal roofing sheets meant to be distributed to vulnerable communities.
Kimono pleaded not guilty but was denied bail and will remain in custody until next Wednesday.
At least 10 other senior government figures, including the Vice President and the Prime Minister, allegedly received some of the stolen corrugated iron.
“The scale of the corruption in Uganda is staggering,” said Ugandan activist Charles Katabalwa. “It’s encouraging to see that there are consequences for those who engage in corrupt practices, but more needs to be done to hold all officials accountable.”
The scandal, involving 14,500 missing iron sheets, has left vulnerable communities in Karamoja without much-needed roofing materials. Some officials implicated in the scandal have returned the stolen goods, while police are still seeking others.
“I am saddened by the corruption that has denied the people of Karamoja their right to basic needs,” said Rose Namayanja, a former Ugandan Minister of Information. “It is high time that we put an end to this culture of impunity.”
Kimono’s court appearance was highly anticipated, with the media swarming to capture the moment. Upon arrival, she covered her head and face with a cloth to shield herself from the cameras.
“Justice will be done,” Kimono told reporters as she entered the courtroom. “I have faith in the judicial system, and I hope that the truth will prevail.”
Mrs. Kitutu will remain in custody until next Wednesday. It is alleged that instead of distributing the roofing materials to Karamoja communities, she gave them to her relatives and officials.
“I have understood the charge, and it’s not true,” she spoke firmly in court.
Her sister-in-law, niece, and daughter-in-law, all alleged to be involved in the scandal, are on the run.