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Government extends Constituency Development Fund probe after K400 million abuse

The Ministry of Finance will audit the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in 10 more district councils to come to the bottom of reports that funds are being abused, a Treasury official said on Monday.
The first exercise conducted by the Finance minister in 18 councils found that K409 million was misused under CDF, Local Development Fund (LDF) and District Development Fund (DDF).
Treasury spokesperson, Davis Sado, said the ministry is embarking on the exercise to appreciate how the remaining councils are utilising funds.
“We are currently auditing CDF in the remaining 10 districts. Last time, we just sampled, now we have seen the need to appreciate what is happening in all districts. To us, this is a routine exercise. We will be monitoring how the resources are being utilised,” Sado said.
The audit exercise in the 18 local councils looked at how K5 billion was used.
The report exposed Karonga, Mwanza, Nsanje, Neno, Chikwawa and Chitipa as some of the councils where funds were mismanaged.
Sado said a committee that was set up to look into the first audit report is in the final process of producing a consolidated report on the matter.
“The report is not yet ready. They are still finalising [it] because, in a normal audit, we give the platform to controlling officers to respond to the audit queries [and] that is why the report has delayed,” he said
The report on mismanagement of CDF implicated 20 Members of Parliament, sparking controversy in Parliament, with the legislators demanding that the government should bring a comprehensive report to Parliament.
The development prompted Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya to order the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) to liaise with the Ministry of Finance and furnish the House with a report before the end of the November meeting of Parliament.
But the committee failed to do so and Pac Chairperson, Alekeni Menyani, accused Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe of frustrating their efforts.

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