MASVINGO – Riot Police turned up at Ndarama High in Masvingo on Saturday as parents received an audit report of school finances from an external auditor.
The auditor, Tam Chartered Accountants, gave a damning report on the records checked since 2019. The meeting was also told by the School Development Association (SDA) chairperson Martin Makweza that the school head, Oddy Matongo, refused to hand over some records for the auditor’s scrutiny.
The head initially resisted even the appointment of the auditor.
Some negative points raised in the report presented by TAM operations director Tsungirirai Mapuvire were that the school is operating without bank reconciliations, figures were fiddled with ahead of the audit, the head received cash before banking it, the school is operating without a ledger for students’ fees which means it is hard to know how much is collected, there are no minutes and workers reported that their salaries are inflated on the budget and the difference is unaccounted for.
The school also doesn’t have a quotation system.
The auditors did, however, not reveal the total figure that could have been prejudiced.
Parents also revised school fees from US$156 allegedly fixed by the head without their consent to US$80 a term.
Matongo appeared uneasy during the meeting, making and taking calls until parents ordered him to stop attending to his phone.
District Schools Inspector (DSI) Ishmael Chigaba, who was supposed to attend the meeting did not turn up. The process had to be delayed for 45 minutes while parents waited for him.
Asked for comment, Chigaba said he was not given the report, and he is not aware of the scope and terms of reference. He said the procedure is that the report is given to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education first before it goes to parents.
Parents expressed surprise at the presence of Police at an ordinary meeting of stakeholders and wondered at whose invitation they came. They also said Riot Police’s presence intimidated parents from freely discussing issues and accused authorities at the Ministry of protecting the head by calling the Police.
Ndarama has been one of the top three high schools in Masvingo Province both in terms of academic results and infrastructure development until the change of heads a few years back.
The audit was carried out by Prosper Mufandaedza.
“We have faced challenges to have an external auditor look into our books of accounts. There are documents which we requested for the audit which up to now are not availed,” said Makweza.
One worker told the meeting that his salary was pegged at US$130 against a budgetary allocation of US$273. – Masvingo Mirror