Tomana guns for CDF abusers

HARARE - Legislators who abused Constituency Development Fund (CDF) are not yet off the hook as attorney general (AG) Johannes Tomana is still keen on prosecuting them.

The country’s top prosecutor told the Daily News yesterday his office was not shielding any politicians who abused funds, but was waiting for the ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and the anti-corruption body audit.

“I am waiting for the ministry of Constitutional Affairs to finish their audit and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) must also be involved and they can hand over their reports to us,” Tomana said.

“We are not protecting anyone. I have not been briefed on how far they have gone on their work, but we are still interested in prosecuting.”

The AG said he does not want to be seen as he was victimising legislators on political lines by prosecuting them without enough evidence or to be seen shielding some MPs from prosecution.

The public has been keen to find out what happened to the $50 000 each MP received from Treasury as CDF — meant for development of constituencies during Parliament’s current fourth session.

The country has 210 constituencies.

Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga confirmed his ministry had finished auditing the Mashonaland East Province and had moved to Midlands province.

He said he was keen to find out whether the public funds had been abused.

“We are carrying out work of auditing the CDF in the provinces. We are not supposed to be submitting any report to the AG’s office without any details,” said Matinenga.

 “It is not true that we are not doing anything about it.

“It is my ministry which had submitted those legislators that we had found to misappropriate the funds but the AG withdrew the charges against them.

“I am aware that the public wants to know what is happening to the CDF and we are working on it as these are public funds.”

The Seventh Parliament which is coming to an end next year in March has seen four legislators taken to court on allegations of misappropriation of the CDF.

Finance minister Tendai Biti did not allocate any money in his 2012 budget towards CDF.

MPs were the sole beneficiaries of the funds with Senators being made ex-officio members in the administration of the funds.

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