MPs request CDFs

HARARE - Members of Parliament have requested for Constituency Development Funds (CDF) to enable them to carry out developmental projects in their constituencies.

Alexio Musundire, the MDC MP for Zengeza East moved the motion in Parliament on Thursday demanding that money allocated during this year’s budget for CDF be released together with funds under the Political Parties Act.

In the 2014 budget, Treasury allocated $5 million towards CDF but the money is yet to be released.

The money is meant to be shared amongst 210 constituencies, implying that each constituency is getting $23 000, against Treasury’s promise of $50 000 each.

“Despite that Parliament enacted an Act that provides for funding to political parties; it is still to be implemented,” said Musundire who was supported by all the legislators across the political lines.

“This also applies to money allocated for CDF which is yet to be released.  We ask for the funds as the electorate is eagerly waiting for us to help them in their needs with the CDF,” he said.

Musundire also called for the arrest and prosecution of all legislators who had abused the CDF during the last Parliament session arguing that it might be the reason why Treasury was now reluctant to release the funds.

“In the last Parliament, there were no proper guidelines on how to use the CDF and this resulted in some of the MPs abusing the money.  We call for the arrest of MPs who abused the CDF as there was an audit carried out on how we used the funds,” said Musundire.

Government is working on measures to protect the CDF from abuse by legislators hence the introduction of the CDF Bill to criminalise looting of  funds.

The pending bill follows Robert Mugabe’s calls that MPs who had abused the CDF must be jailed and voted out of Parliament during elections.

In 2010,  MPs received each $50 000 as CDF from the Treasury.

In the 2013 national budget Treasury allocated $8 million under the CDF for implementation of projects that could benefit the community.

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 arose and 10 MPs faced allegations of abusing the funds and were arraigned before the courts.

Prosecutor 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 could be accused of abusing the fund.

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