74 MPs fail to apply for CDF funds as only two meet criteria 

74 MPs fail to apply for CDF funds as only two meet criteria 

HARARE, January 11 (The Source) – Only 129 Members of Parliament out of 210 applied for the $50,000 Community Development Fund (CDF) but just two met the criteria, Speaker Jacob Mudenda has said.

The fund, which was set up in 2009, directs additional funding for programmes and projects unique to constituencies and are managed by the Members of Parliament.

Mudenda said 74 MPs altogether failed to submit applications for the funds.

“To date only 129 constituencies have submitted initial documents for CDF and their bank accounts, and out of that figure only two have fully complied with the CDF constitution, Accounting Officers manual and have submitted estimated costs and identified a Project Management Committee,” Mudenda said.

“Five submissions did not comply with the provisions of the CDF constitution and 74 have not made any submissions at all, and MPs are urged to attend to this matter urgently as it is to your advantage to promote the development of your constituencies.”

Last year, MPs demonstrated in Parliament demanding, among other issues, that government releases the CDF funds before elections.

In a departure from previous practice where the CDF money was put into the accounts of MPs, the CDF constitution demands that MPs set up CDF committees, identify projects with stakeholder consultations. MPs must also submit three quotations for each project whose cost will be checked against the proposal by the Parliament Staff Management Committee. Additionally, all members of the CDF committee must sign the proposal in showing approval of the project.

In 2012, four MPs were arrested for abusing the fund but their prosecution was held off because of the absence of a legal framework around CDF. At least 20 cases of MPs abusing the funds were also recorded.