Free for all at Hartzell High as headmaster pockets $2m for firewood

Shorwi Kawadza
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UNITED Methodist Church-run Hartzell High School is the eye of a storm after an audit revealed that the headmaster, Mr Shorwi Kawadza, pocketed more than $2 million for firewood supplies to the school without any declaration of interest, The Manica Post has learnt.

According to a recent audit report compiled by Gesimat Consultancy and Auditors, which this newspaper is in possession of, Mr Kawadza, through his Mutrue company, received payments amounting to more than $2 million from Hartzell High School after supplying firewood.

The school’s responsible authority, United Methodist Church, confirmed the development.

United Methodist Church’s Administrative Assistant to the Bishop, Reverend Alan Masimba Gurupira said the school authorities are still looking at the report.

“We instituted an audit at Hartzell High School through the Council of Finance and Administration and we now have the report, but an audit report cannot be quickly read and interpreted.

“We will only be able to discuss the contents after we go through it and sit down to deliberate on the matter. That will be after two days or so,” he said.

Mr Kawadza was not reachable for a comment, while the auditors also remained tight-lipped over the issue.

However, part of the audit report reads: “We noted that Mutrue Investments (Private) Limited was a commodity supplier to the school. The company was registered on May 13, 2019 and is registered under Certificate of Incorporation 7605/2019.

“The registered directors are Shorwi Kawadza (42-080703 T-42) of House Number 3982, Hobhouse 2, Mutare; Janepher Kawadza (42-108328-W-42) of 3982, Hobhouse 2, Mutare and Mutsa Chanyoka (48-104773-W-42) of 3982, Hobhouse 2, Mutare.

“We reviewed the school minutes to ascertain whether Mr Shorwi Kawadza had made declaration of interest to supply the school and confirm whether there was approval. We did not find the declaration of interest or approval.

“Hartzell High School paid Mutrue Investments $238 541 in 2020 and $1 978 110 in 2021 for various items, but mainly firewood. There were no invoices for goods received or any other note to prove that the items purchased were indeed received by the school,” noted the audit report.

The report further stated that there are some governance and internal control weaknesses at Hartzell High School.

“We noted significant governance issues in respect of procurement procedures, related party transactions and weak internal controls. Majority of the purchases had no quotations, invoices and supporting documentation. It was difficult to determine whether the purchased goods were indeed received by the school,” reads part of the report.
The audit report also unearthed irregularities relating to transactions involving United States dollars, with all USD payments for the 2020 and 2021 financial years not included in the financial statements.

“Foreign currency transactions were not presented in financial statements and or unaccounted for.

“There is expenditure with no supporting documentation, as well as absence of bank reconciliations.

“The International Accounting Standard (IAS29), requires foreign currency transactions to be included in the financial statements of an entity. They should also be translated into the functional currency using the exchange rates prevailing at the dates of the transactions,” reads part of the report.

“The failure by the school management to include USD transactions in the financial statements for the year ended 2020 and 2021 is significantly material and pervasive to the financial statements,” noted the report.

The auditors also noted the significant accounting error and unresolved error deductions.

“On May 24, 2021, the school’s bank made error deductions amounting to $1 174 264. 20 from the school’s account and these were incorrectly recorded as expenditure in different ledgers. Reversals amounting to $182 116. 61 were also incorrectly recorded as income.

“We reconciled the error deductions and reversals and noted that a reversal of $580 896.71 is still outstanding. The school management has not resolved the matter with the bank. Therefore, the total expenditure and income for the year 2021 is over stated by the error deductions and reversals,” reads the report.