Kamlepo, others Face CDF queries

Constituency Development Fund (CDF) assessments in Rumphi have shown that millions of kwacha in the 2016/17 fiscal year were allegedly spent on unnamed projects or materials not budget for. According to the report, the queries account for 88 percent of K10 million meant for Rumphi West Constituency; 42 percent for K11.1 million in Rumphi Central and 89 percent of K10.7 for Rumphi East.  Our Mzuzu Bureau supervisor JOSEPH MWALE engages Rumphi East legislator KAMLEPO KALUA to explain what happened:

Kamlepo: I did not steal the money

Q

: The report shows that you did not do well on implementation of CDF. How did you use the money?

A

: That is not true because in 2014, I inherited a debt of about K14 million. This meant that whatever promise I had made to the people prior to the elections did not materialise because I had instructed the district council to take care of that debt. I am perhaps the only member of Parliament [MP] in this district or Malawi

who had cleared the debt of former MPs to the tune of K14 million. At that particular time CDF was K6 million, so you can see that the whole of 2014 and 2015 nothing tangible took place in my constituency.

 

Q

: How do you feel about this news considering that you are the deputy chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament which tracks use of public finances?

A

: After I was told that the debt is cleared, I went to the district commissioner [DC] and said: “Looking at the fight that I get involved in corruption, I am not going to touch this CDF, come up with a committee.” So, a committee was elected. I accept that it was a political committee because I am a politician. I am not hiding from that, because if I am hiding away from that fact, then I am not a politician. This is the committee, that together with people at the DC that were implementing the programmes. Therefore, if there is deficit in that constituency, I should not be the one to blame, but blame the staff at the council and the committee in the constituency. But I do not know that there is any problem from the way I have inspected the projects.

 

Q

: How ideal was electing a political committee for CDF?

A

: It is ideal because politics is what is taking place in Malawi. Unless you don’t know, it’s all politics. Whatever I do is politics. Whatever I think and whatever I say is politics. Even Goodall Gondwe, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, is there because of politics. He is not a Minister of Finance because of a charitable organisation, but because he is a politician. Now, if the money is missing, I cannot be blamed, neither should the committee be blamed, but the council should be blamed. The question is: How did the council release the money without following proper channels of releasing the money when I told them that they should only release the money when there are proper channels?

 

Q

: So, you are blaming council officials when you put them at the mercy of a political committee?

A

: If the committee was stealing, I would have known. I have told them that if they ever steal, I will hand them over to the police. So, the blame is not mine. They say 88 percent of money is missing. This means not even a drop of development has taken place in Rumphi East. If that is the case, then where is the money? We have about 320 primary schools in my constituency and each one of them has at least received something out of CDF. This package does not come at once, because when it was K9 million, we were getting it in four tranches. As I am talking to you, the K23 million that has been the talk of this nonsense, since we raised it from K18 million to K23 million, we have only received K3 million.

 

Q

: That is my question: where is the money? You must answer that!

A

: It is not me. I have told you that from 2014, I said: “I am not going to touch that money under CDF.” If that money is missing, who is embezzling it? The blame should not come to me. n

 

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