MPs under scrutiny over CDF

HARARE - Parliament has embarked on an audit into the usage of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) accessed by Member of Parliament to develop their respective constituencies.

Acting Speaker of the National Assembly Reuben Marumahoko said no new applications for fresh disbursements would be considered until the exercise has been completed before the end of July.

“The CDF committee is only finalising on those applications submitted on or before the 31st of March, 2018. This is to enable all Hon Members to account for monies allocated for their constituencies before the dissolution of the Eighth Parliament,” he said.

To date, the CDF committee has verified projects in two provinces, namely Masvingo and Mashonaland East.

“All members are advised to comply with Article 5.2.4 of the Accounting Officer’s Instructions, which provides for submission of returns monthly for CDF and avail all necessary documentation to the CDF Management Committee as it visits your respective constituencies.

“For those provinces already visited, please submit your returns as well as your progress reports before close of business on the 31st of May, 2018,” said Marumahoko.

“This does not preclude those not yet visited but have already finalised projects or have their documentation and reports ready to submit the same to the secretariat.

“In the event that you are not available in the constituency, please make sure that someone knowledgeable about the CDF projects is present to assist the verification team. I therefore, urge you all to cooperate with the CDF Management Committee in this important and noble exercise.”

The fund was first introduced by former Finance minister Tendai Biti in 2010.

A year after it was unveiled, it collapsed due to budgetary constraints and the absence of a legal framework to govern it.

At the time, a number of MPs were accused of dipping their fingers into the fund, with many of the lawmakers failing the transparency and accountability test.

About four legislators were arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, and appeared in court facing charges of abusing the fund.

The cases later fizzled out because there was no proper legal framework to successfully prosecute the culprits.

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