A Public Expenditure Tracking interface meeting in group village head (GVH) Misomali Senior Chief Nazombe has exposed flaws in administration of Local Development Fund (LDF) projects in Phalombe District.
The meeting was attended by chiefs, community members, council officials and Nazombe ward councilor Yusuf Ndege.
Ndege was close to tears when citizens of the area took him to task over his failure to adhere to set guidelines when implementing LDF projects.
John Muhasuwa from Nazombe village in the area wondered why the councilor was involved in receiving materials at Michesi Primary School meant for a classroom block against the rule that no material should be received after working hours.
“I want the councillor to tell this meeting why he was in the lead flouting LDF procedures receiving construction materials after 4:30pm,” queried Muhasuwa.
While the councilor tried to defend himself alleging school committee members were present when the materials were being received, committee members and Michesi School authorities distanced themselves.
“The headmaster was forced to allow for the offloading of the materials which came around 12 midnight,” said Andrew Chikwapula who represented head teacher for Michesi School at the meeting.
Eventually the councillor conceded to have flouted procedures.
As if that was not enough, GVH Misomali asked the councillor to explain why he initiated rehabilitation of a block at Nambiti Primary School when LDF procedures only allow for full construction works.
Ndege finally heaped the blame on ignorance of the procedures saying he only learnt about the guidelines in March.
Ward councillor for Mpasa who is director of finance at the council, Damson Chiphaka, came to the rescue of his colleague when he highlighted that funding for LDF projects in Phalombe preceeded guidelines for the same which made them (councillors) implement Initiatives in ignorance.
Director of Administration at Phalombe District Council Lonnex Kandiado representing the district commissioner agreed with Chiphaka and added that lack of procedures partly affected quality of work across all wards implemented under the fund.
The interface was part of a project for enhancing communities capacity in tracking development resources and results at local council level which Development Communications Trust (DCT) in partnership with Oxfam is implementing in Phalombe district with funding from Tilitonse fund.