, NAIROBI, October 22 – The National Anti – Corruption Campaign Steering Committee has called for the amendment of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Act to reduce the powers of Members of Parliament in the fund’s management.
Committee Acting Chairperson Rose Arungu said on Wednesday that it was important to restrict Parliamentarians role in the nomination and supervision of the Fund.
“How can you be the one to bring the law, write it, then implement and supervise it?” she wondered. “The CDF Act is like that; they are the legislators, they are implementers and they are the supervisors.”
While launching the Committee’s report on CDF usage, Ms Arungu said the MPs should not be allowed to nominate more than a quarter of the CDF Committees and alleged that the leaders had been nominating their relatives and friends in disregard of their competence.
“We have a case where an MP employed a 91 year old relative to the CDF Committee,” Ms Arungu told the press on Wednesday. “And this is true believe it or not! where were the young and energetic?” she queried.
During the constituency field studies, the committee also found out that some MPs had set up CDF offices in their residential homes.
“In other cases the CDF office is rented in premises owned by the sitting MP, rent for such offices was found to have been exaggerated by as much as 1,000 %; instead of Sh2,000, it is increased to Sh20,000,” the report reads.
It further recommends that the CDF Act be amended to delete the clause that makes MPs automatic patrons of the CDF Committees.
The report also wants the law to clearly spell out the transition of CDF committees, especially after the exit of an MP to account for the work done.
Ms Arunga said their research also revealed misappropriation of CDF Funds.
“There is a particular constituency that reports that Sh3 million was set aside for the construction of a building but when you look, you don’t see where that three million went to; the buildings are just structures,” she said.
The report is also proposing that the CDF Act be amended to specify the banks in which CDF accounts could be held.
However, the committee felt that it was necessary to increase the CDF kitty from the current 2.3 percent of the national budget to 5 percent, arguing that if well managed the fund would ensure equal resource allocation throughout the country.
Such devolved funds were also classified as some of the best avenues for community involvement and participation.
However, the report cites the massive corruption in management, lack of accountability and transparency as factors that curtail the efficiency of the fund.