Uganda: Tough Conditions As Minister Nandutu Is Released On Bail

The Anti-Corruption division of the High Court in Kampala has released on bail, embattled State Minister for Karamoja, Agnes Nandutu .

Lady Justice Jane Okuo Kajuga on Thursday afternoon said she was inclined to grant bail to the minister owing to her medical condition.

“No proof has been provided to dispute the author of the medical report is not a medical doctor. I therefore see no reason to reject the medical report,” Justice Kajuga said.

According to the judge, evidence has been provided to show that Nandutu is sickly with a likelihood of the sickness worsening, noting that prison authorities have not shown proof they can handle her sickness.

“I am of the view that the minister has proved she is medically ill and under treatment to avoid the reoccurrence of a blood clot. No medical report from any other medical personnel has been tendered to dispute this.”

Dismisses DPP’s escape fears

The judge also dismissed the fears of the DPP that Nandutu is likely to abscond once granted bail, basing the assertion on claims that when she learnt of police summons,she went into hiding.

The trial judge however dismissed the same as not proven, noting it is just speculation.

“It is based more on suspicion than on fact. I cannot reach conclusion that the accused had disappeared on knowledge that she was wanted as a suspect. There is no formal proof of abscondment.”

Justice Okuo explained that whereas it is true that the police found difficulty in looking for Minister Nandutu, this is not proof that she was in hiding.

She therefore noted that she is not a flight risk as had been said by the DPP’s representatives but was quick to add that any fear of escaping can only be erased by imposing stringent terms onto the minister.

The judge also dismissed the assertions by the DPP that two of Nandutu’s three sureties were not substantial.

She reasoned that having fixed places of abode and having employment is enough to make them substantial sureties in this particular case.

“They hold positions of responsibility in society and are mature enough with capacity to influence her to attend court when required. The three sureties are therefore substantial in the circumstances of this case,” Justice Okuo said.

According to the judge, since the minister has a family with young children, is sickly, has a fixed place of abode within the court’s jurisdiction, it is only fair that she released on bail to ensure she can attend trial while coming from home.