8 January 2013

Kenya: Release of Sh10 Billion CDF Cash Close to Poll Faulted

Nairobi — The National Taxpayers Association (NTA) has faulted the move by the Treasury to release Sh10.1 billion to MPs, days before Parliament is dissolved saying its ill timed and designed to abuse prudent use of public resources.

Finance Minister Njeru Githae last week released the balance of Sh10.1 billion to the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) Board to enable Members of Parliament complete projects ahead of the March 4 General Election.

"I have Sh10.1 billion for the CDF Board to enable MPs to complete all the projects they had started so that incoming MPs start on a clean slate," Githae told Parliament.

But in what was a clear admission of culpability, Githae said the money was released due to pressure from the MPs.

"It's a mockery of our intelligence and abuse of public resources that Mr Githae should release such huge amounts of money to MPs right in the middle of a campaign period," the lobby group's National Coordinator Martin Napisa said in a press statement.

"While we appreciate that this money might be used to complete projects in some constituencies, there is a likelihood that MPs will use the money to solicit for votes," he added.

According to Napisa, NTA's past reports have captured many incidences in which outgoing MPs and their CDF teams have disagreed with the incoming teams on the exact amount of money on the account during the transition.

"These discrepancies have always masked the wanton misuse of public resources by MPs and their CDF committees," he said.

Napisa also took issue with the flat allocation of Sh17.1 million per constituency without specific assessments to cost how much each constituency would have needed to complete stalled projects.

"The decision that informed the allocation of a flat Sh17.1 million across all constituencies disregards the fact that some constituencies do not actually have a single abandoned project," he said.

"How will they account for money voted to project completion?" he asked.

Napisa also said that the current assessments by NTA in 24 constituencies indicated that most of the constituencies are just receiving their allocation for the 2011/12 financial year.

"The release of the Sh10 billion complicates the situation as the constituencies will have too much money that will just be misused," he emphasised.

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