A Ugandan court on Thursday charged a government minister and her brother with fraud and detained them in a rare corruption case against the country's top official.
The minister, Mary Goretti Kitutu, and her brother appeared before an anti-corruption court on charges of stealing roofing sheets for housing in the country's poorest region.
They were both charged with "two counts" of causing "loss to the government" and "conspiracy to defraud", the country's director of public prosecutions Jane Frances Abodo told AFP.
They have been detained and will appear in court again on 12 April, she said.
The roofing sheets were destined for low-cost housing in Karamoja, an underdeveloped area of northwestern Uganda bordering Kenya and South Sudan.
Mary Goretti Kitutu is the minister responsible for Karamoja and its development and the case has caused an uproar in Uganda.
Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine, however, called the accusations against the minister "a smokescreen". He accused President Yoweri Museveni's government of far worse. "Museveni's entire cabinet, including himself, should be in jail for corruption," he said. "We cannot be happy with a charge related to iron sheets when billions of dollars are being embezzled by government officials," he insisted.
In 2007, two government ministers, Jim Muhwezi and Mike Mukula, were accused of embezzling millions of dollars in aid.