District council officials have abused funds which were meant for development projects in the southern region district of Phalombe, a report has revealed.
According to the report which Malawi24 has in possession, this abuse has led to substandard infrastructures and has seen government losing millions of kwacha due to incomplete projects.
Phalombe Youth Arms Organisation (PYAO) in collaboration with Phalombe Civil Society Organisations (CSO) network have issued the report after the end of a Budget Tracking exercise which inspected 12 development projects in two Traditional Authorities; Mkhumba and Kaduya.
The CSOs have found that the substandard infrastructures are being reconstructed due to low capacity of contractors and negligence of officers from council who most times hesitate to supervise the different projects.
It has also been learnt that lack of transparency and accountability have made people to suspect that something fishy is being done and the CSOs have given an example of Muthumpwa/ Mpaniha bridge which is currently being reconstructed through funds from District Development Fund (DDF).
“ADC prioritized the project after it collapsed. It was maintained first in 2014/2015 by Nalikope through DDF. When rains came it collapsed.
“Currently DDF is also funding it. The contractor will use his own resources and the council will pay him later. The community is not aware of the actual project cost,” reads part of the report.
Programs Coordinator for PYAO Vincent Thom said in an interview that there is poor coordination between Councillors and either Area Development Committees (ADCs) and Village Development Committees (VDCs) who are mostly sidelined from participating in implementing these projects.
“We have learnt that though VDCs and ADCs have to fully take part in any development project, that is not the case here and that most communities do not know that there are different types of developments and their costs,” said Thom.
Meantime, the PYAO through the CSOs network have recommended that there should be improvement in selection of contractors and an intensive monitoring and supervision which should be including the VDCs/ADCs.
The organisation has also said that communities should be sensitized and empowered with correct information on Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and DDF projects.
PYAO was implementing this Budget Tracking exercise through Liwu Lathu project with a one year funding from Tilitonse Fund.