, 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.