Swaziland: Govt Wastes U.S.$100 Million Meant for Poor

The Swaziland Government has wasted more than US$100 million that was meant to help poor people in rural areas, a new auditor-general's report has revealed.

The money was supposed to be used for projects to alleviate poverty under the Rural Development Fund (RDF), which is administered by the Swazi Ministry for Tinkhundla.

Instead, the money was squandered on useless goods that were left idle and unused.

Media in Swaziland reported that an Auditor-General's report said as a result more than E1 billion (US$100 million) has been wasted since the RDF was set up in 1999.

Muziwandile Dlamini from the office of the Auditor-General revealed that some constituencies made orders for items that ended up not being utilised. Dlamini said audits conducted in some constituencies had revealed the problem and now more constituencies would be audited.

The Swazi Observer newspaper reported Dlamini saying in some cases, items were ordered and not delivered while in other times the wrong items were delivered and then ended up not being utilised by the constituencies.

Dlamini said this was a clear indication that some constituencies initiated projects that were not required, but they did so just for the sake of doing something.

Dlamini added failure to coordinate and plan for their projects was often the cause for collapse of the projects initiated by tinkhundla.

Tinkhundla is the political system used in Swaziland that bans all political parties from contesting elections and places power in the hands of King Mswati III, who rules as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch.

Seven in ten of the King's 1.3 million subjects live in abject poverty, earning less than US$2 per day. The King is reported have a personal fortune estimated at US$200 million. He has 13 palaces, one for each of his wives, a private jet airplane and fleets of Mercedes Benz and BMW cars.

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