By Michael Odeng and Charles Etukuri
Planning state minister Amos Lugoloobi is expected to appear before the Anti-Corruption Court today (Monday, April 17) over allegedly diverting iron sheets meant for the vulnerable people of the Karamoja region.
Lugoloobi was arrested on Friday last week shortly after a team he had sent to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) stores in Namanve, Mukono district had handed over 300 iron sheets.
Lugoloobi reportedly received 600 iron sheets in two equal batches of 300. He is said to have received the first consignment from OPM on July 15, 2022, under voucher number 8,058. They were signed for by his personal assistant, John Allan Damulira and transported using car registration number UBG430S.
Lugoloobi also received another batch of 300 sheets from the Karamoja affairs ministry on February 1, 2023, under voucher number 8,527.
Exclusive photos accessed by New Vision show the iron sheets in the minister’s cow shed clearly labelled from the inside: “Office of the Prime Minister-Uganda Kiboko pre-coated sheet PPG Gauge 28.”
Lugoloobi in an interview with New Vision confirmed he owned the farm located in Misanga parish, Misanga village, Bbale sub-county in Kayunga district.
The minister also acknowledged receiving the iron sheets from the OPM, but declined to say whether he used them on his cattle shed.
“I presented a request (for iron sheets) to the OPM and they called my personal assistant to come and pick them. I needed the sheets to use in the roofing of churches, schools and other community projects,” Lugoloobi told New Vision recently.
Asked whether he used the items on his farm and whether he knew it was wrong to put to personal use items bought using public funds for the less privileged, the minister said: “You are making it appear as if we stole them. I did not steal them. Stop blackmailing me,” he said, before hanging up.
Subsequently, Lugolobi granted New Vision another interview and defended his action of using part of the 600 iron sheets received from the OPM to roof an animal shed on his farm in Kayunga.