Head accused of $10k fees theft

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A HEADMASTER with St Phillip’s Mukamba Primary School in Dorowa is under investigation for allegedly stealing an estimated $10 000 paid by parents as fees and levies over the years.

The theft was recently unearthed by parents who quickly put the matter into their hands and chased away the head from the school. Manicaland Provincial Education Director, Mr Edward Shumba, said the ministry’s auditors were now investigating Mr Everson Mudarikwa’s case.

“Our auditors are currently checking all the books at the school to identify the alleged discrepancies,” he said. “From the briefing I got over the matter, it seems the headmaster committed the alleged theft through under-receipting and parallel receipting of paid school fees. There are also funds which cannot be accounted for.

“With regard to under-receipting, what happened was that he wrote or entered less amounts on the receipt book than the actual figure that was tendered to him. The assumption here is that he pocketed the difference.

“Coming to parallel receipting, it meant that the headmaster had his own receipt book which was not in the system which he used when receipting paid fees. These funds disappeared completely. The auditors will get all the evidence and we will tell you what really transpired,” he said. Mr Shumba said the ministry would only act after the completion of the audit.

“We stand guided by what comes out of the audit. If there is any transgression, we will charge the headmaster accordingly and if there is any criminality, the case will be handed over to the police for further management.”

Those privy to the case, said the headmaster, who is now back at the school following the intervention of the parent ministry allegedly misappropriated the school fees over the years.

“This school has never been audited and the head took advantage of that to steal. He virtually did everything on his own, running the school like his own business project. Some of the receipt books have been destroyed and it is hard for the auditors to unearth everything. “When parents realised that they were being ripped off, they chased him from the school and reported the matter to the police. He was arrested, but later released after the parents failed to provide evidence to support their claims,” said a source.

Last month, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, said it would deploy auditors in the province to assess the adherence by schools to set accounting procedures. Permanent Secretary, Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango, said apart from fishing out rot, the audits would help school authorities to come up with decisions that aid the effective and efficient use of available resources. She urged parents to provide tips each time they suspect foul play at schools. Last year, the nationwide audits unearthed stinking corruption and rampant embezzlement of funds, with some school heads failing to produce documents to support expenditure, while incentives that had been banned by Government were still being paid.

Dr Utete-Masango said the auditors would institute special investigations where school heads and School Development Committees are accused of embezzling fees and levies.  Some of the cases that hogged limelight include the case in which a school clerk at Little St Augustine’s Primary School in Penhalonga, Mrs Monica Mukandi allegedly failed to account for $2 843.

At Munyira High School, $1 920 could not be accounted for, while the school head went into hiding after allegedly converting $6 000 meant for fees to his own use.

Close to $13 000 was allegedly stolen at Hande High School, while $3 386 disappeared at Madzivire Secondary School. An estimated $500 could not be accounted for at Singwizi Primary School in Chipinge, while the school clerk at Tsanzaguru Primary in Rusape could not account for $2 500. At St George’s Muchena Primary School in Penhalonga, the head, one Mr Muzaeni allegedly failed to account for more than $3 000, which he withdrew from the school account. At Crossdale Primary School in Nyanga District, the head allegedly converted to personal use $640,50 meant for orphans and vulnerable children while at Bangwe Primary School in Chipinge, the school authorities allegedly failed to comprehensively provide supporting documentation for expenditure of $1 900.