Zimbabwe says it is working on new legislation to govern the operations of constituency development funds following allegations that cabinet ministers and lawmakers abused money meant to improve their constituencies.
Addresing parliament Monday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga said the finance ministry and the office of the comptroller and auditor general are working on the policy draft, adding the absence of a law has resulted in the on-going allegations of abuse.
He said the law would regulate the way the funds are distributed, especially setting out criteria to be followed by lawmakers in applying for the funds and projects.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says the Anti-Corruption Commission will soon arrest cabinet ministers and more lawmakers suspected to have misused constituency development funds allocated to them in 2010.
Mr. Tsvangirai is quoted by the Standard newspaper as saying the ministers should face the wrath of the law if they misapropriated the funds despite a directive by attorney general Johannes Tomana to halt the arrests until auditing is done in all 210 constituences allocated US$50,000 each.
The prime minister said the commission has the power to arrest the cabinet ministers as it does not get orders from the attorney general’s office.
At least four legislators have so far been arrested for allegedly abusing the funds and charges of theft against three of them were recently dropped by Tomana.
Commisson chairman Sternford Chirindo said they have intensified their investigations and will soon arrest lawmakers and ministers suspected to have abused the constituency development funds.
“As far as we are concerned we are going ahead with the arrests after completing thorough investigations,” said Chirindo.