Undersecretary Testifies In Nandutu Mabati Trial

The Undersecretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Geoffrey Sseremba has become the second Prosecution witness in the case in which State Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Agnes Nandutu being tried for the diversion of 2000 iron sheets meant for the vulnerable people of Karamoja.

Nandutu is facing trial before Lady Justice Jane Okuo Kajuga and she is accused of dealing with suspect property.

The Prosecution alleges that during the month of June 2022 at the office of the Prime Minister’s Stores in Namanve and Kkola Cell Bulwanyi Parish Mukono District,  Nandutu dealt with government property that is 2,000 pre-painted iron sheets Guage 28 by receiving and holding the said iron sheets.

According to the Prosecution, Nandutu had reason to believe the iron sheets were acquired as a result of loss of public property an offense under section 10 of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2000 as amended.

Sseremba whose role is to manage expenditures at the Prime Minister’s Office was the first technical witness to take the court through steps on how budgets are approved and allocated in the various dockets of the ministry.

He was first tasked by the Prosecution led by David Bisamunyu to outline the roles of both a Cabinet and State Deputy Minister. Such roles in the dockets include among others guiding and supervising activities in the respective ministry.

Particularly Sseremba who also doubles as an Accounting Officer testified that in 2022,  a total of 39.94 billion shillings was approved for peace-building activities in the Karamoja sub-region.

According to Sseremba, the key in the intervention was to address the disadvantaged situations, promote or cause development in the form of infrastructure and also extend social welfare services such as schools and health centers to the people of Karamoja.

It was hoped that the interventions would persuade the people of Karamoja to embrace disarmament and abandon cattle rustling.

Target groups such as youth, women, Local Councils, and the elderly were equally to be sensitized to embrace development.

Sseremba told the court that all those activities had to be fulfilled through the procurement of goats and iron sheets to be distributed at no cost to the targeted beneficiaries or the people of Karamoja.

He has testified that MM Integrated Steel Mills and Roofings Uganda Limited were contracted for the supply of 10,000  pieces of painted Iron sheets gauge 28′ although the projection was for about 100, 000 pieces of iron sheets.

He confirmed that the iron sheets were delivered to the OPM stores at Namanve.

Sseremba, is  himself battling charges before the same Court for causing the government a loss of money by corruptly releasing 4 billion shillings to various people for peace-building activities in Karamoja without a proper work plan.

Both Minister Nandutu and Sseremba are out on bail.

Earlier in the day, the hearing started with the first Prosecution witness Evelyn Hilda Bazibu a political Assistant to Nandutu. Bazibu is also the Program Scheduler at Nation Television (NTV) where Nandutu worked before she turned to elective politics.

Bazibu admitted before the court that she received and signed for and collected the the iron sheets on behalf of the Minister.

Hearing of witnesses continue as prosecution indicated that it had a total of more than ten witnesses.

The case will now resume on August 30th 2023 for further hearing and cross examination of Sseremba.

Nandutu is being represented by a team of lawyers including Evans Ochieng, Caleb Alaka and Nandah Wamukota.

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