Kenyans urged to monitor CDF use

April 8, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – The National Taxpayers Association (NTA) is asking Kenyans to report any suspected misappropriation of Constituency Development Funds (CDF) to the watchdog’s regional offices set up in all provinces across the country.

The organisation which recently launched a report on the best and worst constituencies in CDF management said the move would reduce the fraudulent loss of monies meant for community development and allow public scrutiny of CDF expenditure.

In an interview with Capital News on Thursday, NTA Regional Offices Coordinator Nahashon Aluoka, said the need for this accountability would increase two-fold if the proposed Constitution which favours devolution of resources is passed.

“We already know that if the draft sails through – and I am very optimistic that it will – 15 percent of the national budget is going to be devoted to the counties. If we are not keen, then we could as well be devolving corruption from the national level to the counties, meaning we will be losing more and more money,” he said.

Mr Aluoka who added that Kenyans had a duty to monitor how their taxes were used for also faulted citizens’ lack of faith in institutions created to hold the government to account. He said that this lack of trust hindered the work of such institutions.

He revealed that the NTA had set up offices in Nyeri, Machakos, Garissa, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nairobi, Eldoret and Busia (which is moving to Kakamega). These offices, he said, would allow those at the grassroots to get an easier forum to ascertain the projects that their CDF funds had been used for.

“The eight regional offices are supported by the constituency monitoring committee comprising one man and one woman from every location in the constituency. This is the structure that is closest to the community members and that’s the structure we rely on to get all this information and their work is normally to follow up on the findings and recommendations given,” he said.

He also added that reports on the administration of CDF funds were taken to the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission, the Kenya National Audit Office and the Parliamentary Select Committee on CDF.

“There have been many reports that have not been implemented; they are just gathering dust on some shelves. But our work is to raise red flags and it is now up to them (the committees) to follow this further. We also share the reports with the Controller and Auditor General’s offices so that they too can pursue investigations,” he said.

Mr Aluoka also said that CDF projects in 40 constituencies had so far been audited with the help of the constituency monitoring committees.

“There are some six more that we are currently processing and we will be releasing their Citizen’s Report Cards soon. We are also embarking on the third phase of our constituency audits where we are going to monitor an additional 36,” he said adding that all the constituencies would be covered by 2011 with details of all their projects.

The NGO also dispelled claims by politicians that their reports were dubious. Mr Aluoka explained that before the publication of any such reports all implicated MPs were notified and allowed to respond, and that only nine MPs whose constituencies were featured in this year’s report responded.

“All the MPs are politicians who think about politics and elections; that is not our business. We have a national governing council comprised other civil society organisations like TI-Kenya, SUPKEM, KEPSA and others. These facts are out there and if anyone wants to challenge them they are free to do that,” he said.

This year’s report audited 34 constituencies and five local authorities placing Budalangi, Rarieda and Kieni constituencies as the best in managing their CDF accounts while Embakasi, Mathira and Kamukunji constituencies as the worst.


Kenyans urged to monitor CDF use

April 6, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – Kenyans are being urged to play an active role in ensuring that Constituency Development Funds (CDF) are properly utilised.

The coordinator of the National Tax Association (NTA) Michael Otieno said on Tuesday that there was need for everyone to take their leaders to task over the use and management of the monies.

He stated that doing this would ensure that CDF cash is not only properly utilized, but well accounted for.

“All of us pay tax and it is our responsibility to ensure that our taxes are utilised appropriately,” he said. “There seems to be no difference, in fact, the situation is a little worse than last year and the risk that comes to that is that a lot more tax payers money is being lost.”

He said there was need for education programmes to be carried out to sensitise the public on tax collection so as to keep track on its utilisation.

The NTA released a report that revealed that about Sh443 million of Constituency Development Funds had been lost as a result of mismanagement and poor records.

“Last year we were talking about Sh276 million that was lost,” Mr Otieno explained and added: “This year, we are talking about an additional Sh167 million that was lost. This figure is quite astronomical,” he added. 

The money was mainly lost in wasteful spending of the CDF a devolved programme that is under the control of MPs and is meant to support infrastructure development at the grassroots.

The NTA arrived at the verdict after it audited the accounts of 34 constituencies and five local authorities.

The CDF was created in 2003 to fight poverty at the constituency level through community-based projects and to bridge imbalances in regional development brought about by partisan disbursement of public funds since independence.

The Treasury initially released Sh1.26 billion for CDF but the amount has gradually risen to Sh18 billion in the current financial year attracting the attention of civil society groups.

“This audit enables voters in 34 constituencies and five local authorities to know how their funds have been used,” said Mr Otieno..

The survey unravels the continued misuse of taxpayers’ money despite the financial difficulties facing the government that has had to deal with a number of emergencies in a sluggish economy.

Revelations of misuse of public funds come at a time when the government has put in place austerity measures such as the withdrawal of fuel guzzlers from its fleet to reduce expenditure and redirect money to essential areas.

The NTA questions the manner in which devolved funds are managed, faulting the central government for failing to put in place the necessary structures to prevent pilferage.

It found that in some constituencies, CDF money has been used to finance non-existent projects, while in other cases construction work was started and abandoned half way after money was squandered.


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