Another US$5m earmarked for legislators | The Herald

via Another US$5m earmarked for legislators | The Herald January 13, 2014 by Zvamaida Murwira

Government has proposed to give us$5 million to legislators under the Constituency Development Fund even though the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is yet to complete an audit into previous possible abuse of the facility by Members of Parliament.The delay in auditing previous cdf allocations has stalled prosecution of lawmakers fingered in alleged looting of the fund.

The Anti-Corruption Commission has stopped all investigations into the alleged pilfering of tax-payers’ money.

This means legislators who may have looted previous disbursements and converted the money to personal use could once again get their hands on taxpayers’ money without having been brought to book for past abuses.

In the 2014 National Budget proposals, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa earmarked us$5 million for constituency development projects.

In 2012, around 200 National Assembly representatives were given us$50 000 each from Treasury to develop their constituencies, but it was reported that several pocketed the money.

Since then, little progress has been made in bringing culprits to book.

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission chairperson Mr Denford Chirindo, whose department spearheaded investigations that saw the arrest and arraigning before magistrates’ courts of some legislators accused of abusing the cdf, said they had stopped all investigations.

He said this was after the then Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, headed by Advocate Eric Matinenga (mdc-t), said it was carrying out a full audit in respect of all constituencies to establish if money was used for its intended purposes.

“We have held investigations in abeyance pending finalisation of that audit. There were complaints by some of those arrested who said there was selective application of the law because they knew other legislators who had abused the money but were not arrested.

“They complained that only a few MPs were being targeted while leaving influential legislators whom they knew had abused the money,” said Mr Chirindo.

“It was then agreed at policy level that there be a wholesale approach to the matter to avoid selective application of the law. We have not received that audit report from the Ministry. It is the ministry carrying out the audit, they are the complainants,” said Mr Chirindo.

Secretary for Justice, Parliamentary and Legal Affairs, Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, whose ministry now handles the CDF, could not comment on Friday saying she was attending a funeral.

Mrs Mabhiza was the Secretary for Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs during the inclusive Government.

Prosecutor-General Mr Johannes Tomana said they could only act on getting a wholesale audit from Government and after police investigations.

“Give us a wholesale report and see whether we will not act. What we refused was a piecemeal, we want a full meal. Give us that and see whether we will not eat,” said Mr Tomana.

He said there were complaints from legislators fingered in the alleged scam that they were victims of politically-motivated investigations.
“As the prosecuting authority we want to do away with politics, we just do our job professionally. This is why we said give us a full report.

We want a full audit and criminal investigations and a complete docket,” he said.

Mr Tomana said arresting a few people while waiting to pounce on others created problems.
“There were some grey areas in the method they had used (in disbursing the money). CDF should be controlled and regulated. We need a person who says I gave this person money for this purpose but he used it for that purpose,” he said.

Government has started working on a CDF Bill to regulate the use of the money.

Legislators from Zanu-PF and the MDC formations were arrested for allegedly abusing the CDF allocations.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • comment-avatar

    …’The Anti-Corruption Commission has stopped all investigations into the alleged pilfering of tax-payers’ money.

    This means legislators who may have looted previous disbursements and converted the money to personal use could once again get their hands on taxpayers’ money without having been brought to book for past abuses’

    in other words ALUTA CONTINUA.. MARI NGAIBIWE BABA CHATUNGA IS OK WITH IT….
    CRY MY MOTHERLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • comment-avatar
    Robert Lamberg 8 years ago

    5 million that is it. We talk billions in America. That is just nothing. And you bring up America. How much is American aid are you receiving .