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Minister Kitutu Allowed to Attend International Conferences

minister kitutu allowed to attend international conferences
minister kitutu allowed to attend international conferences
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In a recent decision, the High Court in Kampala has given clearance to Karamoja Affairs Minister Dr. Mary Gorretti Kitutu to travel abroad for conferences in the United Kingdom and Dubai. Dr. Kitutu, who also serves as the woman Member of Parliament (MP) for Manafwa District, is facing corruption-related charges in connection with the misappropriation of 9,000 iron sheets intended for vulnerable individuals in the Karamoja sub-region.

On Friday, Trial Judge Jane Kajuga ruled that there was no valid reason to deny the minister’s request for travel. Judge Kajuga stated, “The application for travel to the United Kingdom to attend the Inzu Masaaba UK (Imuka) event and to Dubai, UAE to attend the UN Climate Change Conference is granted.” However, she declined to grant unrestricted travel rights and instead requested details regarding the duration of the minister’s travel.

Judge Kajuga modified the applicant’s bail terms, requiring that any travel outside the jurisdiction of the court must be made with the court’s consent. Each travel request will be considered on its own merits, and the minister must continue to adhere to the previously established bail conditions.

During the ruling, the judge noted that Dr. Kitutu’s invitation to the IMUKA 10-year anniversary events in London, scheduled from November 23 to December 5, 2023, was extended to her in her capacity as a minister and as a government official from Bugisu Sub Region. Additionally, the minister had obtained clearance from the Office of the Prime Minister for her travel to these events.

The judge also took into account an invitation letter that designated Dr. Kitutu as a party delegate representing Uganda at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 28, set to take place from November 12 to December 12, 2023, in Dubai. This participation was recognized as an official duty.

Although the court acknowledged that it might be challenging for the minister to manage attendance at both events, as one concludes on December 5 and the other on December 12, Judge Kajuga deemed it possible.

Furthermore, the judge dismissed the state’s argument that Dr. Kitutu’s travel would interfere with pending court cases, noting that her primary criminal case had been stayed pending the resolution of her human rights case. Judge Kajuga expressed satisfaction with the minister’s attendance record during the criminal case proceedings, stating that she had attended each court session as required. She also observed that Dr. Kitutu’s actions did not appear to be in bad faith, as she had sought the court’s consent despite no legal barrier to external travel.