Pumula MP arrested over missing $50 000

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Pumula MP Albert Mhlanga was yesterday arrested on charges of abusing $50 000 meant for development projects in his constituency.

Mhlanga, of MDC-T, became the third legislator to be caught in the blitz by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) against MPs who allegedly misused their $50 000 allocations from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Franco Ndambakuwa, the Zanu PF MP for Magunje, and MDC-T’s Marvellous Khumalo, who represents St Mary’s, have already been charged with converting part of the funds given to their own use.

A ZACC official said Mhlanga was detained at Donnington Police Station after he was picked up in Bulawayo around mid-morning.

He is facing charges of criminal abuse of office relating to the alleged misuse of over $32 000 from the fund and is expected to appear in court today.

Mhlanga allegedly transferred $32 000 to his company Bulawayo Plumbers and $9 000 to Alex Plumbers, which is reportedly owned by his friend.

The money was purportedly meant for the supply of goods that were never delivered to his constituency.
Officials from the graft-busting body said Mhlanga failed to account for all the money he was allocated in 2010.

Mhlanga is the provincial organising secretary for the MDC-T and a former Bulawayo deputy mayor.

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga early this week said an audit on the use of the CDF allocations had covered 65 of the country’s 120 constituencies.

He said results from four constituencies were not satisfactory. Last month, Matinenga released a list of 10 Zanu PF and MDC-T MPs including ministers who had failed to account for the funds.

But some of the ministers and MPs have claimed that they have since submitted proof to the ministry showing that they did not misuse the money.

The fund was set up by Finance minister Tendai Biti to help MPs spearhead development in their constituencies.

However, there have been complaints from people that the funds were abused by MPs who never involved their constituents in identifying projects.

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