ACB probes MPs over Constituency Development Fund abuse: 20 risk arrest

Graft busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says it has instituted an investigation into allegations that 20 members of parliament abused the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in their respective areas.

Kondowe: Errant MPs to be prosecuted

ACB director Lucas Kondowe said the probe is different from what Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said the government has set up.

“We are doing our own investigations. We have already started the investigations in some districts of Kasungu, Mangochi and Mulanje,” said Kondowe.

The Finance Minister said the 20 members of parliament risks prosecution after the state investigation is over.

He said there are “at least 20 MPs” who are suspected to have mismanaged the CDF in their respective constituencies.

Gondwe, said government would like the suspects to be “brought to book” and that the law will take its course .

They are accused of awarding contracts to their relations or friends, making shoddy works, bloating prices for materials among others.

Kondowe said his office has arrested some council officials and councillors in connection with the abuse of CDF.

The members of parliament however managed to push for the increment of the CDF from K18 million to K23 million.

Gondwe told Parliament that a systematic audit of 16 councils was carried out which found that mismanagement of funds in CDF and DDF had occurred and millions of kwacha did not go into development projects as planned.

He said most of the resources, money contributed by Malawians in form of punitive taxes, were abused.

Gondwe  said: “In both of these, out of the K3 billion, an amount of over K80 million was misused and where it was used properly, the structures created such as school classrooms, bridges and roads were grossly of substandard and grossly unattractive so that within a short time we will need to create replacements of these structures.”

 The Finance Minister emphasised the need to examine the use of resources for grass roots economic development channelled through DDF and CDF as well as Local Development Fund (LDF).

The excerpt from the audit carried out last year which Gondwe read out indicated that MPs were the ones sourcing quotations instead of procurement departments in councils.

The audit also found that such interference was contributing to the creation of ghost projects and materials not being delivered at project sites.

Reads the excerpt in part: “In some cases, the goods and materials were procured from suppliers that were related to the honourable members of Parliament.

“In addition, many projects were initiated by the honourable members of Parliament only without the involvement of their area development committees.”

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