By Michael Odeng
On Thursday (May 4), the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court granted Karamoja affairs state minister Agnes Nandutu a sh10m bail in the iron sheets scandal.
This was a day after the minister was sent back to jail pending a decision on her bail application after a bail hearing at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo.
Also on Wednesday, Nandutu, who is also the Bududa district Woman MP, pleaded not guilty to charges of dealing with suspect property contrary to Section 21A (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act.
This offence attracts a maximum sentence of seven years in jail upon conviction.
On Thursday, High Court Judge Jane Okuo Kajuga was satisfied with the defence team’s arguments in the bail applacation, including the substantiality of the accused’s sureties as well as her medical assessment.
She said the issues raised leaned more on granting than denial of bail.
As such, the judge granted Nandutu a sh50m cash bail and her sureties required to each pay a non-cash bond of sh50m.
She was also directed to deposit in court her certificate of title for two plots of land in Kyaggwe.
Nandutu is expected back in court on May 25 — three weeks from today — for the start of her trial.
Nandutu is accused of receiving 2,000 iron sheets meant for Karamoja people.
The batch she reportedly returned to the Office of the Prime Minister is said to have been less by 383 iron sheets.
The journalist-turned-politician is the first to be committed to the High Court to face trial in the ongoing iron sheets scandal, but she is the third minister to be charged and remanded to Luzira Prison over the same.
Karamoja affairs minister Mary Goretti Kitutu and finance state minister for planning Amos Lugoloobi are the other members to have been charged in the scandal.
Both of them have since been released on bail.
▪️ Minister Kitutu granted bail – as it happened
▪️ Minister Lugoloobi granted sh10m cash bail