Uganda’s Roofing Sheets Saga: Second Minister Charged Over the Theft

Published: 18 April 2023

Kampala UgandaKampala, Uganda's capital. (Photo: Alex Proimos, Flickr, License)

By Josef Skrdlik

Uganda’s Minister of Planning Amos Lugoloobi became on Monday the second government minister to be charged in relation to the theft of 14,500 metal roofing sheets that were supposed to be distributed to the poor but ended up in the hands of senior government officials. In this case, on the roof the minister’s goat shed.

Last week, a court in Kampala indicted Mary Goretti Kitutu, the minister for the Karamoja region in northwest Uganda, for which the sheets were originally intended.

Kitutu, who was in charge of the distribution of the roofing material, is accused of conniving with her brother and assistant to divert the supply to benefit her family members and government officials.

Lugoloobi was arrested on Friday after he was found to have covered his shed with the stolen sheets. He was charged with corruption, according to the Ugandan National Prosecution Authority.

After a public outcry, the minister removed the sheets from the shed, calling them evil and stating that he no longer needs them, but allegedly kept all the 600 sheets in his possession.

Local media cited sources suggesting that Lugoloobi was trying to slow down the police investigation by pretending he was out of the country on official duties.

Lugoloobi was allegedly heading to Entebbe International Airport when he was arrested on Friday.

He pleaded not guilty and was remanded until Thursday when he is to appear in court again for a ruling on his bail application.

Last month, the police stated that they were investigating 22 ministers, 31 MPs and 13 chief administrative officers in relation to the theft.

The scandal broke out in February after local media reported that Kitutu’s relatives were arrested for selling metal roofing sheets with the inscription “Office of the Prime Minister” on them.