Huge costs of parliamentary elections and loans of hundreds of millions of shillings offered to members of Parliament are major factors fuelling corrupt practices among legislators, this newspaper has been informed. A former minister who served in the first and second terms of office of the current administration until the recent cabinet reshuffle came out to tell the Guardian on Sunday that unless the process of electing an MP is reviewed, corrupt practices among MPs will be hard to contain. According to the CCM politician who preferred anonymity citing possible reprisals, most individuals who vie for parliamentary seats spend a substantial amount of money from the party nomination stage to the campaigns with high hopes of recovering the costs after securing the posts. Though political parties play an important role in parliamentary election campaigns, the facts on the ground show that an individual parliamentary candidate shoulders a huge burden of raising funds to finance campaigns in a constituency, he said. The former minister observed that the current parliamentary election system is too costly at an individual level, where candidates win parliamentary elections after spending a lot of money. This renders them vulnerable to corruption, he affirmed. To qualify this observation an opposition MP from Lake Zone (name withheld) also confided to this reporter that during the 2010 general elections he used his house as collateral to borrow money from one of his friends to finance election campaigns. Had I been defeated in that parliamentary race my house would have gone as well, the Chadema MP reflected with a light touch, grinning broadly. Records show some parliamentary candidates in 2010 spent up to Sh80 million for campaigns. However, the task of raising funds for election campaigns for candidates seeking re-election (incumbents) to the post is much easier as the gratuity offered to them after expiry of their tenure, which amounts to Sh45 million, helps them ease the burden. The former minister further analyzed MPs lifestyles after election, saying the loans offered to each of them amounting to Sh200 million make matters worse. According to him, after an MP has secured loan from a bank which is payable in five years, the legislator becomes wholly dependent on allowances to survive as the whole of his salary is spent in servicing the bank loan. He said given the fact that most MPs lack expertise in business the loans they secured from banks end up generating losses, bringing them back to square one. Just imagine, what can an MP, who has never touched Sh10 million in his life, do with a loan amounting to Sh200 million? Most of us start businesses that end up generating losses, making us wholly dependent on allowances and other illegally acquired money, he pointed out. I have been informed that MPs allowances have been increased and CRDB Bank has once again asked MPs to top up their loans by Sh100 million, he elaborated. The Guardian on Sunday has not yet established the level of increase of MPs allowances. Until recently legislators have been pocketing Sh 70,000 as per diem and Sh80,000 as sitting allowance a day. According to the MP, when he was minister, members of Parliament frequented to him pleading him to appoint them members into various boards. It was unthinkable for an MP who does not qualify to be appointed a member into a certain board to plead for appointment, he stated. He was of the view that businessmen now find it easy to drive their agenda in Parliament by capitalizing on majority MPs financial weaknesses. Until recently an MPs basic salary was standing at Sh2.3 million. But if other allowances such those meant for fuel, constituency and driver are added into the salary, the figure becomes Sh7.3 million per month. Some MPs are currently being accused of being involved in corrupt practices, turning the good image of the representative pillar of state. Worse, some important parliamentary oversight committees have been tainted with corruption, compelling Speaker Anne Makinda to order a rapid investigation into baffling allegations of bribe taking.