Minister of Local Government, Lingson Belekanyama has issued a stern warning against misappropriation of funds for development projects in district councils, saying the law will take its course for those involved in the malpractice.
Belekanyama issued the warning during a meeting for Central Region district council officials in Lilongwe on Monday ahead of the implementation of a project called Governance to Enable Service Delivery (GESD) amounting to $100million (over K75 billion).
The project, which will be financed by the World Bank as a grant, will run for five years effective 2020/21 financial year and will be implemented in all the 28 local council authorities.
He told council officials they ought to be transparent in any expenditure incurred saying in the past, misunderstandings arose whenever there was a new project due to failure by district commissioners and chief executive officers to account for their expenditures.
“During the last sitting of Parliament, I was quizzed over lack of transparency by councils, this almost stopped the legislators from passing some pertinent bills for the councils’ development projects,” he said.
Belekanyama, therefore, appealed to district commissioners and chief executive officers to be producing physical and financial reports on implementation of projects on monthly, quarterly and annual basis.
“We want to deal with implementation challenges of Constituency Development Fund, District Development Fund and Borehole Fund which have, over the years, brought working relationship which is not cordial between DCs and Members of Parliament,” he said.
He further advised DCs and CEOs to be prudently submitting and disbursing funds for project implementation once funded by treasury, saying any delay raises doubts.
“Deliberate delay in implementing CDF and DDF projects will not be accepted because every project has a timeline, therefore, any delay has consequences,” he said.
Lilongwe District Commissioner, Lawford Palani, who spoke on behalf of all the participants at the meeting, said the orientation came at the right time when councils are about to start implementing projects in the 2020/2021 financial year.
He said the orientation meeting had enlightened them on issues that affect smooth running of councils’ business.
“This orientation will enable us to have good working relationship with MPs and councillors, which will improve service delivery,” he said.
Out of K75 billion GESD Project funds, about K55 billion will go to District Development Fund (DDF) for the implementation of council programs.