Members of the national assembly cannot account for billions of money allocated to the constituency development fund (CDF) kitty in the latest report by the auditor general.
The latest revelation is likely to shift focus to the Members of parliament who have been blaming and castigating Governors for presiding over massive looting in counties.
The audit report which covers the FY2013/2014 shows massive irregularities in the use of funds under CDF with at least 270 out of the 290 constituencies being unable to provide documents to support the expenditure of over sh3.85 billion under CDF – the multibillion-shilling kitty that MPs get to implement community projects within their constituencies. http://www.kenao.go.ke/-cdf
In some constituencies, the auditor indicted the CDF committees for failing to keep books of accounts, and issued a “disclaimer opinion” meaning, there was no way he could tell how much money had actually been spent, and how much could not be accounted for. The PFM Act clearly spells out how a public entity is supposed to spend money and how the expenditure is supposed to be accounted for.
It is not clear why the reports which were signed by the Auditor General between May and July 2015 were only made public few days ago. There exist clear timeframes within which the audit is supposed to be completed and publicized. public-audit-act
The latest report is likely to rekindle debate on the legality of CDF and further question the role of Members of parliament in administering the kitty. Set up in 2003, the Fund has been a pet project for MPs, who over the years have been using it to buy loyalty and as financial muscle to campaign against their opponents.
Members of parliament are not supposed to be implementers of projects because they are supposed to oversee how the Executive spends money allocated to the latter. Their continued control of CDF has led to allegations of conflict of interest compromising their key role of oversight.Role+of+the+National+Assembly
The fate of the CDF kitty is currently in the hands of the Court of Appeal judges who will on February 2017 determine whether the fund will be scrapped and the money disbursed directly to counties, or if MPs will continue to run the lucrative kitty.
The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was renamed the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) after the high court on February 20, 2015 declared the former CDF Act unconstitutional leading to the enactment of the National Government Constituencies Development Fund Act 2015 which came into effect exactly a year after the ruling. The National Government Constituencies DevelopmentFundAct2015.pdf
The audit reports indict 273 constituencies and clears only 12. The reports of five constituencies – Kikuyu, Konoin, Baringo Central, Magarini and Kibra — are not part of the cache that was made public.
The reports detail how key projects in many constituencies were abandoned when former MPs lost their seats even after millions had been pumped into them. The projects now lie idle and taxpayers are unlikely to get value for money even after millions of Constituency Development Fund cash was splashed on them.
New MPs elected in 2013 were not keen to complete projects started by their predecessors over the years, leading to wastage of public resources.
The audit shows that some MPs turned their CDF offices into employment bureaus to create jobs for their cronies; hired consultants at exorbitant rates to design strategic plans for their constituencies that were neither launched nor publicly distributed; drew irregular sitting allowances; irregularly paid millions to train dozens of bodaboda operators on how to ride motorcycles; paid for teachers to attend seminars far away from their constituencies; and awarded multimillion contracts irregularly.
The audit reports have been made public with less than a year remaining to the next general election at a time when MPs are scheming on how to raise campaign money. It still remains to be seen if any action will be taken as the same reports are expected to be forwarded to the national assembly for action.
The cloud of misappropriation involving CDF is so huge that State agencies are scrambling to expose lawmakers. In Budalang’i, for example, the Auditor General found no documents, and when he asked, he was told that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) had carted them away for an active investigation on the use of funds.
Most of the constituencies failed to account for bursary disbursements – they had no receipts or even records of the schools, colleges or universities acknowledging that the students got the money. Others flouted the procurement rules when they awarded multimillion-shilling contracts. The contracts were awarded without a tender committee and without agreement on the deliverables. Still others failed to account for millions in imprest.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS FOR JOURNALISTS IN COUNTIES
- Look at projects that are incomplete and lying idle years after they were initiated? Point at them and find out why they remain incomplete? How much was allocated and how much was actually spent?
- How many people are employed in the CDF offices compared to the numbers approved? How are they employed-single sourced or competitively?
- Is there any relationship or linkage between projects initiated by the County Government and CDF? There are time when projects are claimed by both entities.
- Can a project initiated under CDF be completed using County funds?
- Download the reports and follow up with the relevant offices in the constituencies to ascertain the status of the issues pointed at in the reports.