Zomba council accused of misusing bursary funds

By Synd Kalimbuka

Members of Parliament in Zomba have asked Zomba District Council secretariat to explain how they have used K27 Million for bursary scheme as the council’s report show that the money was spent but fees for targeted needy students was not paid.

The K27 million Constituency Development Fund Scheme is aimed at helping needy students in secondary school education.

Speaking during a full council meeting on Tuesday, Member of Parliament for Zomba Ntonya Ned Poya reported that out of 160 needy students who were put on CDF bursary scheme in his constituency, none of them has accessed it.

Poya said he followed all processes including identification of such students in collaboration with ward councillors and development committee and submitted to the council through district social welfare office.

“This is really worrisome to see that those needy students have not yet benefited from the funds which government channeled to the council account,” Poya said.

He learnt this after students who were put on this scheme reported that they were chased from their respective schools because they were not paid for.

Complaining on the same was member of parliament for Zomba Chingale Loney Chijere Phiri who also reported that payments for beneficiaries at Malosa secondary school for two terms were not yet made despite being in the new financial year.

Member of parliament for Zomba Lisanjala constituency Dr. William Susuwele Banda said information on how the funds is used is not made available to the MPs.

“The council does not provide information on how this scheme is managed. Even the procedure for payment by the council is not yet clear,” said Banda.

Council members have since accused the secretariat of lack of transparency and accountability on how the CDF bursary scheme is managed.

In a separate interview, District Social Welfare Officer Christopher Ndaona admitted that Zomba Ntonya has not yet benefited from the scheme despite the report showing that the council spent over K2 Million for the constituency.

According to report Ndaona has, the council paid K7 Million for needy students out of K27 Million the council intended to spend for the CDF bursary.

It is not yet known where the remaining K20 Million was used for.

District Commissioner Dr. Smart Gwedemula apologized to the council members on how CDF bursary scheme is implemented.

Gwedemula said most of the members are not aware on how many learners have benefited from the scheme.

He therefore directed that the education service committee should meet immediately meet with all responsible officers for CDF bursary management and get all the needed information including number of beneficiaries in each constituency and amount of money spent.