Report shows Sh242 million CDF cash wasted on collapsed projects

By FELIX OLICK

Some Sh242 million of Sh1.8 billion allocated to Constituency Development Fund (CDF) kitty in 2010/2011 financial year was either wasted, unaccounted for or badly used.

The National Taxpayers Association (NTA), in a new report on the use of the funds in 28 constituencies, said some projects were poorly done yet Sh179.1 million had already been spent.

In the report, the final in a series of assessments that started in 2008 covering CDF and LAFT-funded projects, another Sh40.5 million was unaccounted for while abandoned projects cost the kitty Sh22.2 million.

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According to the report, the bottom five constituencies are Khwisero, Isiolo North, Rongo, Ikolomani and Hamisi.

Former MP Evans Akula represented Khwisero Constituency that wasted a whooping Sh58.9 million or 81.2 per cent of the total allocation of Sh61.3 million.

Isiolo North, whose area MP was Mohammed Kuti, wasted a staggering Sh29 million. Ikolomani that was led by Boni Khalwale ‘misused’ a total of Sh27 million out of Sh61.3 million while Rongo that was led by Public Service minister Dalmas Otieno misused Sh18 million. Top five best performing constituencies of the 28 surveyed regions were Belgut, Runyenjes, Galole, Magarini and Wajir West.

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However, despite the massive misappropriation, the report shows that there is an improvement in the management of the funds as compared to previous years.

Only 13 per cent of the money was badly used, which is an improvement from 17 per cent in the previous survey. NTA attributed the enormous loss of public funds to poor procurement systems.

NTA National Coordinator Martin Napisa said poor procurement systems have on many occasions allowed single sourcing of contractors from within CDF committee members.

“This in itself is conflict of interest. It has often compromised the role of CDF committees in monitoring CDF projects,” said Napisa, while launching the report, adding that there are constituencies where all projects are awarded to one contractor, who then sub-contracts.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Vice-Chairperson Irene Keino warned that devolution was likely to provide a breeding ground for corruption.

“I can bet that corrupt networks are readying for the devolved governments. We must all be on the lookout to keep them at bay,” Ms Keino cautioned.

She said in the last one year, EACC has handled over 200 cases related to CDF – a pointer that almost every constituency has had a case to deal with.  “Some of the cases have involved diversion of funds, outright embezzlement and overall patronage by an overbearing political elite,” Keino said, as she called on partnerships to defeat corrupt networks.

Napisa also said politicians are increasingly channelling resources to areas that overwhelmingly voted for them during elections.

“We have noted a worrying trend where elected leaders concentrate resources in areas that overwhelmingly voted for them during elections,” said Mr Napisa.

 “This is contrary to the principles of Public Finance (Article 201), which promotes equitable society and that revenue raised nationally shall be shared equitably among national and county governments and that expenditure shall promote the equitable development of the country including by making special provision for marginalised groups and areas,” he added.

Speaking after the release of the findings, Belgut MP Charles Keter, who was ranked first, said the survey was not surprising.

“Belgut is one constituency where you literally have electricity everywhere. Water is never a problem. That is why the people have decided that I run for Senator of Kericho County,” said the outgoing lawmaker.

Kitutu Chache MP Richard Onyonka, who was ranked seventh and the best in Nyanza, noted that the audit is a good parameter for voters to evaluate their aspiring leaders.

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Constituency Development Fund National Taxpayers Association