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Audit report exposes CDF mess in councils

KAMBWANDIRA— There is no accountability in CDF

MKANDAWIRE— Officials from councils are overpowered

The report of the Auditor General (AG) for the financial year ended June 2020 on the accounts of city, municipal and district councils has shown that Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocations continue to be abused.

For instance, the report shows that most councils are carrying out CDF projects without filling project application forms and sometimes without involving project implementation committees.

The AG’s report further indicates that some CDF projects were not implemented, coupled with failure to review implementation of CDF projects.

The report also shows that there was a CDF disallowed expenditure of about K9.8 billion on the money that was allocated to CDF activities in the 2019-20 financial year.

Meanwhile, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willy Kambwandira has said he was not shocked with findings of the audit report.

“There is no accountability in the management of CDF as some members of Parliament are creating favoured structures to control the fund.

“Again, the oversight role of the Public Accounts Committee appears compromised. This is either due to internal politics or self-interest. Members of Parliament are deliberately circumventing the law that guides disbursement and management of CDF,” Kambwandira said.

Malawi Local Government Association Executive Director Hadrod Mkandawire said he was not surprised with findings of the report.

“Many are the times when officials from councils are overpowered by members of Parliament using political influence on how CDF should be used. We are advocating that the country should devise regulations that will be used in the implementation of the funds if CDF is to be fruitful in the country,” Mkandawire said.

In 2021, Chitipa South legislator Werani Chilenga had a motion to put CDF firmly under parliamentarians’ grip.

This rekindled a longstanding conflict between legislators and councils over CDF expenditure.

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