EDITORIAL: Tighten CDF use audit

MPS in session.
MPS in session. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Members of Parliament will feel relieved that the Treasury has allocated some Sh35.76 billion to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Ordinarily this should inspire hope of funds flowing into the 290 electoral areas to catalyse completion of development projects or facilitate the start of others.

But reports of widespread misuse of past allocations suggest that the fund might not be serving its purpose.

The Auditor-General has just released a report showing that about Sh1.6 billion set aside for the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) in the financial year ending June 30, 2017 cannot be accounted for. It is tempting to believe that there are even greater leakages down to the individual constituencies where scrutiny by the auditors is known to be much weaker.

The law technically limits MP’s role to oversight.

But the reality is that a majority of the legislators retain control over management of the fund through cronies, exposing it to misuse and wastage on personal or political schemes.

There is a need to strengthen the capacity of the Auditor-General’s office to scrutinise the use of the CDF money down to the constituencies if it is to spur development.