Gatundu North residents up in arms over alleged embezzlement of CDF funds
Residents of Gatundu North in Kiambu County are up in arms over alleged misappropriation of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
The residents claim the constituency's development committee embezzled millions during a recent bursary issuance exercise.
As a result of the alleged corruption dealings, hundreds of learners did not benefit from the kitty despite having applied.
Students studying in various schools have now been forced to remain at home due to a lack of funds.
As his first disbursement as the MP for the constituency, Elijah Njoroge Kururia who is only a patron of the NG-CDF committee allocated Sh48 million which is Sh10 million more than what his predecessor was allocating as bursary to learners.
About Sh30 million of the allocation is said to have been set aside for students in day and boarding schools while the rest was to benefit students in higher learning institutions including technical schools.
This was meant to cushion struggling parents who have been severely hit by harsh economic times and some of whose children had been sent home over fees arrears.
But parents whose children did not benefit decried that despite collecting, filling and submitting forms, a thorough exercise that was done with the help of local authorities, their children remain home to date as they did not receive a penny from the huge allocation.
Led by Beatrice Wanjiru Kamau, a resident of Mukuyuini village, Mary Wambui and Kamau Kuria, the parents noted with concerns that the feedback they got from the bursary committee was that their forms were not fed in the system, a move they decried as a well-orchestrated scheme to deny them their bursary rights.
The parents who lamented that the burden of educating their children has been huge as they expected a bursary boost alleged that the committee stole their money to pursue personal developments.
“They stole our money for personal interests leaving us struggling to educate our children who remain home to date. It is sad that we had to go through such strains which we never experienced in the former leaderships,” furious Wanjiru said.
“I was told that my form had issues but they never told me which. I have gone to the constituency offices severally seeking answers to no avail and this has left me in a very bad state,” Wambui added.
They further alleged that the committee allocated their money to their close relatives and cronies at the expense of needy children from the constituency.
While demanding the immediate sacking of the alleged corrupt officials and investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the irate locals took issue with the approach accorded to the bursary issuance process saying that some schools got more than they deserved while others missed out.
Formerly, the locals decried that students could receive between Sh4,000 for day scholars and Sh6,000 for boarders, a trend that has since changed despite an increase in the allocation.
On his part, Njoroge Mwangi further alleged the misappropriation of Sh20 million that had been left in the constituency account by the former leadership.
Sh1 million from the kitty, he said, was removed from the money and given to cronies of the area leadership at a time that the constituency did not have a sitting bursary committee and as such, the move contravened the CDF Act.
“We want a lifestyle audit for Gatundu North constituency committee members who have become overnight millionaires after stealing our money. We will be writing to EACC seeking to have the corrupt officials arrested to return our money,” Mwangi said.
But in a quick rejoinder, the constituency bursary committee chairperson Kimani Kagiri exonerated himself from any corruption dealings saying the committee’s task ends at vetting applicants.
Issuance of bursaries, he said, is done at the discretion of the NG-CDF committee which his team has zero influence in.
He at the same time cleared that most parents whose children study in boarding schools failed to get the bursaries as more were allocated to day scholars unlike in the previous years.
“Our good people should distinguish between the work of a bursary committee and that of the CDF committee. Our job is to receive forms, assess them and vet them before we hand them over to the main committee. If there was any embezzlement of the CDF or the bursary kitty, it's beyond us to respond but from where I stand, my committee did the right thing in the best interest of residents,” Kagiri said.
When contacted for a comment, the Constituency CDF chairperson, referred journalists back to the bursary chairperson for responses.