Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale says the constituencies that got 100 percent Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in 2017 were those headed by Cabinet ministers.
Mwale told parliament on Wednesday that cabinet ministers had earlier sacrificed not to receive the first batch of CDF because the treasury had no money at the time.
He was responding to a question from Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Garry Nkombo who wanted to know what criteria the ministry had used when allocating the funds.
“Mr Speaker, I placed cabinet ministers at the end. We said if there is anybody we are going to sacrifice, should the Ministry of Finance fail to release the funds, it would be ministers. We said we were going to be the last ones. So we decided we were going to fund all the constituencies 50 percent, and we did except for the last 18 constituencies which were held by cabinet ministers,” Mwale explained.
“And when we got monies at the end to fund those 18 [constituencies] and begin to top up , we eded up giving those last 18 minister full amounts. They had waited, I am being very frank. Whether you like it or not, I am being very frank. They were ready to sacrifice if the monies was not going to come, they were going to lose out and at the end when we begun to give the top ups, we started with them getting 50 percent and topped up; and the rest we had to select from various provinces.”
And responding to a question from Zambezi East UPND member of parliament Brian Kambita who wanted to know why some district commissioners were interfering with the CDF which was already approved by the ministry, Mwale said only the ministry through various committees had the authority to authorize the funds.
“Mr speaker, on whether the Minister of Local Government has got authority to authorize the use of CDF as proposed by the Constituency Development Fund committee and approved again by the sub committee, DCs have no powers over DCF whatsoever because we have the regulations that guide how CDF should be used,” Mwale responded.