CDF abusers should be jailed: Mugabe

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe wants thieving Members of Parliament  who abused the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) jailed.

 Officially opening the Fifth Session of the Seventh Parliament, Mugabe this week expressed concern over the abuse of funds by legislators, and informed them a CDF Bill was going to be introduced in Parliament  to curb abuse and charge offenders.

“To correct the irregularities detected following an audit of the CDF a CDF Bill which will strengthen accountability in the Fund’s management shall be brought for debate by Parliament during this session,”said Mugabe.

Mugabe’s call to prosecute offending MPs follows demands by Senators during the just-ended Fourth session of Parliament.

Senators demanded that they should be allocated the CDF that their colleagues in the House of Assembly are receiving.

Senator Tambudzai Mohadi of Zanu PF asked Finance minister Tendai Biti to consider senators in his budget.
 
Mugabe told legislators government was working on measures to protect the CDF from abuse by legislators, hence the introduction of the CDF Bill which will criminalise MPs who could have looted the funds.
 
Government is working on measures to protect the CDF from abuse by legislators.
 
Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga told the Weekend Post his ministry had finished auditing the Mashonaland East Province and had moved to Midlands Province and was keen to find out whether public funds had been abused.

In the 2010 national budget Biti allocated $8 million under the CDF for implementation of projects that could benefit the community.

During the Fourth session of Parliament 210 members of Parliament (MPs) received $50 000 each for their constituencies from the Treasury.

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

However, cases of misappropriation of the funds arose when 10 MPs faced allegations of abusing the funds and were arraigned before the courts.

Attorney-General Johannes Tomana halted the prosecution of the MPs arguing that a proper audit into how they used the money was to be undertaken before any MP can be accused of abusing the fund.

The public has been keen to find out what happened to the $50 000 each MP received from the Treasury.
 
The country has 210 constituencies.

Four MPs  Albert Mhlanga (MDC-T Pumula Constituency), Marvellous Khumalo (MDC-T St Mary’s constituency), Cleopas Machacha (MDC-T Kariba Constituency), Franco Ndabakuwa (Zanu PF Magunje Constituency) were  arrested by Anti-Corruption Commission and appeared in court in March this year.

Charges against Ndambakuwa and Mhlanga were withdrawn before plea, whilst Machacha and Khumalo charges are still pending.

The Seventh Parliament which is coming to an end next year in March has had cases of four legislators being brought to court facing allegations of misappropriation of the funds. — Weekend Post

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