CDF ‘corruption’ irks Mkushi NGOs

The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction  (CSPR) and the Development Association in Mkushi have accused the Mkushi District Council of alleged corrupt practices in the utilization of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

CSPR Mkushi Branch Coordinator Gershom Musonda has said the manner in which the Mkushi Council was utilising CDF left much to be desired.

Mr. Musonda said the recent outcry by members of Parliament that councils had become conduits of corruption was true.

He accused the Mkushi District Council of implementing projects from CDF without consulting the community and other interest groups.

Mr Musonda said such developments had led to poor workmanship on most projects that had been implemented in the district.

He  told ZANIS in an interview on Wednesday that CDF funds were public funds that every citizen had a stake in hence the right to inquire in its utilization.

Mr Musonda said according to the CDF guidelines, councils were only supposed to play an supervisory role but that in cases where the council jumped the bandwagon, people should suspect corruption.

He said one case in point was where the community in Mkushi applied for CDF to have a footbridge measuring 1.8 meters in width put up.

Mr. Musonda alleged that the council went ahead to implement the project without consulting vital organs in the district and reduced the width from 1.8 meters to 1.5 meters and that when questions were asked, the council stated that they reduced the width of the bridge because the cost of materials was too high.

He  said it was because of such issues that put the council and members of the community in conflict with the council as there appeared to be lack of trust between the two.

Mr. Musonda said leaders from the civil society movement should not be accused of inciting people when they complain about matters of this nature.

He said it was folly for the Mkushi District Council to accuse people who wanted to ensure that CDF funds were properly utilized of trying to incite the community to rise against them.

Mr Musonda also called on the council to consult citizens on the implementation of development projects to avoid wastage of funds and poor workmanship.

And Mkushi Development Association Chairperson Godfrey Kabanga accused the Mkushi Distrct Council of awarding contracts for various construction projects to contractors who had little experience in the fields they were engaged to undertake resulting in poor workmanship on many projects.

He cited the awarding of a contract for the construction of a public toilet at a cost of K77, 000 to a contractor who has since abandoned the project.

Mr. Kabanga said there was an urgent need for the Anti-Corruption Commission to visit Mkushi to investigate alleged corrupt practices at Mkushi District Council.