Probe on CDF abuse hit by funding hitch

THE Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs has blamed insufficient funding from Treasury for its failure to complete investigations into the abuse of Constituency Development Funds (CDF) by legislators from Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.

Report by Herbert Moyo

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Virginia Mabhiza, refuted claims by MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora that MPs from his party are innocent.

“We had hoped to finish the audits of all constituencies, but the problem we are experiencing is that we have not been getting sufficient funding from Treasury,” said Mabhiza.

Mabhiza indicated earlier this year that her ministry required US$120 000 to complete the audits.

She said Mwonzora’s claims that his party had not abused the CDF were misplaced as investigations had so far revealed “20 extreme cases where legislators from all political parties had completely failed to account for the funds they had received from Treasury”.

“Let him speak just for himself and not for everyone in his party because our investigations have shown that there are rotten apples in all the parties,” said Mabhiza.

Mwonzora told this paper last week that his party had carried out its own investigations which cleared all its legislators of any wrong-doing.

“We have not found any evidence of abuse of the CDF although we noted that some legislators simply failed to follow the proper procedures on their return forms,” said Mwonzora.

“If anything, the (Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs) ministry should shoulder the blame for failing to train the MPs on correct accounting procedures.”

However, Mabhiza said her ministry had done its part through the provision of basic training procedures to assist the MPs and their personal assistants.

The CDF was introduced to assist MPs fund development projects in their constituencies. Last year, each legislator was allocated US$50 000 under the fund.

The fund has, however, created controversy after some MPs failed to account for their allocations, forcing the ministry to conduct an audit.

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