The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has asked the High Court to dismiss an application by State Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Amos Lugoloobi to relax his bail terms. In April this year, Lugoloobi was charged with dealing with suspect property, related to the diversion of iron sheets meant for the Karamoja Community Empowerment Program.
The prosecution alleges that Lugoloobi dealt with government property, specifically 700 pre-painted iron sheets marked ‘Office of the Prime Minister.’ Lugoloobi was granted cash bail of Shillings 10 million and restricted movements within Uganda unless permitted by the court. On July 4th, 2023, he filed an application seeking relaxation of the bail conditions and the return of his diplomatic passport, citing the need to travel for official duties.
During the hearing before the High Court Registrar Lamunu on Wednesday, Lugoloobi’s lawyers led by Tony Tumukunde argued that their client had been formally invited to various conferences and events, highlighting their importance for Uganda’s sustainable development goals.
The court has heard that Lugoloobi was invited to Africa Agricultural Policy Leadership Dialogue and Retreat of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Kigali Rwanda in June, Salm Dialogue for Economic Cooperation conference, Economic Recovery within the Time Framework of South and Triangular Cooperation in Italy, and other events in South Korea among others.
He argued that the Permanent Secretary and the Minister for General duties, who is the focal point Minister for Sustainable Development Goals are fully aware of the trips. He emphasized that Lugoloobi would not abscond from trial and had returned his passport to the court after using it for a trip to Lusaka, Zambia.
Tumukunde assured the court that their client has children and a wife and many responsibilities in the country like serving the people of Kayunga District, Parliament, Formulation of Fiscal and Monetary policies, Control and Management of Public Funds among others, and therefore won’t run away.
However, the prosecution led by Gloria Izukuru urged the court to dismiss the application, stating that Lugoloobi was granted bail to secure medical treatment and not for regular international travel. She argued that there was no evidence to suggest that granting the passport release application would burden the court.
The prosecution emphasized that other government officials and ministers could represent Uganda at international functions and high-level meetings. The ruling on the application has been scheduled for July 28th, 2023.