Crackdown on ‘corrupt’ MPs

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The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is on the hunt for MPs accused of abusing Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocations with St Mary’s MDC-T legislator Marvellous Khumalo becoming the first MP to be arrested for allegedly squandering the $50 000 envelope.

Khumalo, who was arrested on Monday, was by yesterday being held at Rhodesville Police Station in Harare.

Other MPs facing arrest for reportedly failing to account for the CDF allocations are Peter Chanetsa (Zanu PF, Hurungwe North), Franco Ndambakuwa (Zanu PF, Magunje) and Cleopas Machacha (MDC-T, Kariba).

The four MPs, according to the ACC, allegedly failed to submit returns to the government to prove how they had used the CDF allocations for development projects in their constituencies.

Although police could not comment yesterday, ACC officials confirmed the development, adding Khumalo was arrested for reportedly abusing CDF allocations meant for projects in his constituency.

The officials said they were also hunting for Chanetsa, Ndambakuwa and Machacha. Chanetsa and Ndambakuwa could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press last night.

But Machacha said: “I was one of the first people who submitted returns to the ministry. I went to the shop where I bought my hardware and asked them for cash register receipts. They couldn’t produce them and they gave me duplicates.But the issue is the chief auditor Mudzungairi said my receipts were not tallying and would not accept the duplicates.”

An ACC official said: “We arrested the MP for St Mary’s for abuse of funds meant for projects and failure to account for the money given. We have teams in different constituencies and the MPs should account for the money used.”

Last week, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga told journalists that 10 MPs — six from Zanu PF and four from MDC-T — had failed to submit returns to prove that the $50 000 each got from the CDF in 2010 was used for developmental projects in their areas.

Among those Matinenga said failed to account for the funds were National Healing co-minister Sekai Holland (MDC-T Senator, Mabvuku/Tafara), Public Service minister Lucia Matibenga (MDC-T MP, Kuwadzana) and Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare Douglas Mombeshora (Zanu PF MP, Mhangura).

However, NewsDay is reliably informed that the ministers have since submitted returns to Matinenga’s ministry.

MDC-T senior party officials yesterday confirmed Khumalo’s arrest, but party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora professed ignorance on the matter.

Matinenga last week said: “Out of the 65 internal audits done, satisfactory responses have not been received from four constituencies — St Mary’s, Hurungwe North, Magunje and Kariba — and these matters have been handed over to the appropriate authorities for their information and, where appropriate, further investigation.”

Matinenga warned those who failed to account for the money would not be considered for the next allocation.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Chisvuure, the former MDC-T MP for Budiriro, has died.

Chisvuure died yesterday at Harare Central Hospital after a short illness.

He was elected MDC-T MP for Budiriro in the 2006 by-election following the death of then MP Gilbert Shoko.

The Welshman Ncube-led MDC also lost its national executive council member, Benias Charumbira (40), who was the national secretary for environment and natural resources.

MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said Charumbira, a founding member of the united MDC, died after a short illness in the early hours of yesterday morning.

She described him as “a veteran of the struggle for the democratisation of Zimbabwe having begun his career at the ZUM party and later was actively involved in the formation of the Forum Party where he held various leadership positions”.