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No more field day for CDF looters

BUSIA
By | August 14th 2011

By Stephen Makabila

Monitoring of constituency development funds is likely to improve after the CDF board and the National Taxpayers Association (NTA) harmonised their operations.

The two have in the past been fighting each other, in what NTA chairman Peter Kubebea links to lack of information and communication flow between them.

"Differences between the CDF board and NTA were largely due to lack of communication between us. We have rectified it and monitoring of CDF funds will now improve," said Mr Kubebea.

A recent Government audit report indicate that at least 27 constituencies have their CDF accounts mismanaged, but NTA believes the number could be higher. Some of constituencies have CDF cases already in court while in some, their cases are subject of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission probe.

NTA is one of the independent monitors of CDF funds. Apart from CDF, the association also monitors management of other devolved funds.

These include the Poverty Eradication Fund, the Rural Electrification Programme Levy Fund, Road Maintenance Levy, the Community Development Trust Fund, Free Primary Education Fund and the Local Authority Transfer Fund.

Others are the Constituency Bursary Fund, the Water Services Trust Fund and the HIV/Aids Community Initiative Account.

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A few months ago, the NTA cried foul over alleged differences with the CDF board touching on the credibility of an audit report in March. The standoff, NTA had claimed, could have affected Phase IV of the audits.

NTA national co-coordinator Davis Adieno, in a letter to the board’s Chief Executive Agnes Adhiambo, claimed they were being blocked from proceeding with audit of CDF projects in 31 constituencies because requested information was being withheld.

However, Kubebea told The Standard on Sunday that the standoff had been resolved. "NTA has enough information from the board relevant to its work involving auditing. There is mutual respect between us," added Kubebea.

Kubebea says NTA would step up efforts to ensure devolved funds are spent prudently.

"Unlike other NGOS involved in monitoring devolved funds, NTA has a countrywide network and will monitor funds effectively," added Kubebea.

Adieno said the Controller and Auditor General’s recent audit report on CDF vindicated earlier reports released by the NTA.

"There is little variance between what Government institutions, including the CDF board internal audit and the Controller General’s report, have on CDF use when compared to what NTA has so far released," added Adieno.

He says most of the constituencies black-listed by the Auditor General’s report had also been identified by NTA’s audit as being among those whose CDF funds had been mismanaged.

"Anyone complaining about what NTA has been doing lacks basis because three or four audit reports pointing an accusing finger at the same entities cannot be wrong," added Adieno.

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