Posted on October 5, 2012 | Category: Politics; Business, Sport
Government has audited the use of money from the Constituency Development Fund in 156 constituencies out of the 210 with the aim of sending offending legislators to court. Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabhiza yesterday said they would submit names of legislators who abused the funds to the Anti-Corruption Commission and Attorney General’s Office for prosecution.
She said the 156 audited constituencies were in six provinces, with the auditors now in the Midlands province.
“We have monitored and evaluated Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West,” said Mrs Mabhiza.
“The auditors are in the Midlands where we have covered 22 constituencies. We are targeting 27 constituencies in the province.”
Each MP got US$50 000 for constituency development.
Mrs Mabhiza said the audit should be complete before the end of the year.
“It is our hope that those availing resources will continue doing that so that we finish in time before we take the process forward,” she said.
Mrs Mabhiza said some legislators did good projects for their constituencies.
“Good projects far outweigh bad ones and while there are bad apples, some legislators have put the money to good use,” she said.
“The Ministry has compiled a magazine of the projects done by some of the legislators.”
Some legislators were reportedly disguising donor-funded projects in their constituencies as theirs in a desperate bid to cover up the abuse of CDF.
Mrs Mabhiza said the drafting of a new law to punish the legislators was at an advanced stage with the ministry waiting for responses from various stakeholders.
“The Comptroller and Auditor General’s Office has responded and we are waiting for the others.
“The law would help us to jail the abusers of public funds,” she said.
The legislators face a jail term of up to five years if the Bill sails through.
Those who assist the legislators to misappropriate the funds would be held accountable and face a similar jail term.
Government has been failing to nail lawmakers who abused the funds because there was no law spelling out penalties.
Four legislators have already been taken to court on allegations of misappropriating the funds.
MPs were the sole beneficiaries of the funds with senators being made ex-officio members in the administration of the funds.
Albert Mhlanga (MDC-T Pumula), Marvellous Khumalo (MDC-T St Mary’s), Cleopas Machacha (MDC-T Kariba) and Franco Ndambakuwa (Zanu-PF Magunje), were early this year picked up by the Anti-Corruption Commission and appeared in court.
Charges against Ndambakuwa and Mhlanga were withdrawn before plea and the State would proceed by way of summons when the dockets are ready. Cases against Machacha and Khumalo are still pending.
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