MPs furious with Uhuru over CDF cash

October 6, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 6 – The Treasury on Wednesday fought hard against parliamentary censure over alleged discrepancies in the disbursement of Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

In a highly charged debate, backbenchers pushed through a Motion compelling the Finance Ministry to immediately release the money despite assertions by Assistant Minister Oburu Odinga that the government had no outstanding CDF monies.

"In fact, by the end of this financial year we will have overpaid the CDF by Sh4 million," said Mr Odinga.

The Assistant Minister maintained that the alleged discrepancy was due to the difference in interpreting the basis of calculating the allocations.

"Our understanding of ordinary revenue is different from yours," said the Minister.

The law requires the government to disburse at least 2.5 percent of total ordinary revenue to the Fund.

While MPs insisted that the CDF allocations must be calculated against the entire government ordinary revenue Mr Odinga said they should be based on the netted revenue which excludes 2 percent disbursed to the Kenya Revenue Authority and 5 percent allocated to the Local Authorities Transfer Fund.

However the CDF Committee Chairman Ekwe Ethuro dismissed the argument saying:  "The law is very clear on this issue. The only thing that the law has excluded is Appropriations in Aid."

Kisumu East MP Shakeer Shabir added: "I am an accountant of nearly 30 years and this thing is clear there are no netting, no cut offs."

The hostile MPs threatened to frustrate the Ministry of Finance in the House.

"The arrogance with which the Ministry of Finance is treating this Parliament is one we cannot entertain any more," said government Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo.  "Without CDF there shall be no Supplementary Budget."

In defence of its Motion to Parliament, the CDF committee complained that the Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has persistently refused to honour invitations to explain the discrepancies accumulated over the last five years.

"The Minister did not even have the basic courtesy to send us an apology to say he is not available. He just sent us some junior officers," remarked Mr Ethuro.

The impact of CDF has been felt across the country helping in building and maintaining hospitals, schools, water projects, feeder roads and administrators offices

"One of the biggest challenges to the implementation of the CDF is lack of complete fidelity to the law," said Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo.

Rangwe MP Martin Ogindo said in the spirit of devolution of resources the government must show commitment and adherence to the law. He said perpetual disregard of the law was equal to impunity.

"Kenya is a second Republic today and we are not going to allow impunity to be perpetuated," he said.

But despite the bashing, Mr Odinga insisted: "The Treasury reiterates its commitment to full and timely disbursement to the Ministry of Planning for onward transmission."

According to the new standing orders of Parliament, the Minister could face censure if he fails to implement the House resolution.


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