Hidden from public

There’s more to the CDF grants than meets the eye

By Alfred Sasako

THE 50 members of Parliament drew a combined $520 million in additional payments besides the Community Development Fund (CDF) in the five years to 2017, official documents obtained by Island Sun have revealed.

These payments were in the form of Scholarship Award Grants, Church Grants, Subvention and Grants, MP Discretionary Fund and Fixed Services Grant, according to official record of payments of one senior Government Minister.

Details of the additional funding for the 2012-2017 period show that:

Scholarship Award Grant   – SBD966,000

Church Grants                                   – SBD1,352,742

Subvention and Grants       – SBD5,844,799.04

MP Discretionary Fund        – SBD1,725,000

Fixed Services Grant                        – SBD500,000 (2013 only)

Total                                        = SBD10, 388, 541.04

This means that the 50 MPs who served in Parliament between 2012 and 2017 shared $520million or $10.4million each. These extra funding appears to have been kept away from the public.

Those familiar with it said the only grant not included in this extra funding is the shipping grants, which this year was scrapped.

It was moved to the Ministry of Rural Development and is now part of the $350 million allocation for Community Development Fund (CDF).

Based on the 2018 Budget papers, each Constituency would receive $7million through their MP.

On average each Constituency received between $6million and $7million a year since 2012.

The revelation of additional funding comes amidst rumours that each MP has $30 million at his disposal to fight the national general election early next year.

The documents obtained by Island Sun reveal payment details for the extra funding, including date of payments, invoices, cheque numbers as well as bank accounts the funds were paid into.

Those who are familiar with the payments said the whole thing is linked to alleged election-rigging, which can only be exposed by a commission of inquiry.

“Our fear is that some of these grants were never passed on to the intended recipients. A good example is the Church grants. No one knows whether churches are benefiting from this financial support,” they said.

“While these grants continue to be disbursed, no one hears about whether they have reached the intended denominations in the rural area,” one man said.

Island Sun will continue a special investigative series on this, starting this week.

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