AUDIT EXPOSES WIDESPREAD LOOTING IN SCHOOLS

THE ongoing nationwide audit in schools is unearthing stinking corruption and rampant embezzlement of funds, with headmasters failing to produce documents to support expenditure, while incentives that were banned by Government last year are still being paid in most schools.

 In Manicaland province, the audit team has since covered Mutare, Chipinge, Chimanimani, Nyanga and Mutasa districts and they are currently in Makoni District en-route Buhera District.

 Early last month Government deployed hundreds of auditors to schools amid reports that headmasters and School Development Committees had embezzled millions of dollars meant for fees and levies. Documents being prepared by the audit team in Manicaland — which the Manica Post has in possession — reveal that headmasters and non-academic staff members who handle cash in some schools misappropriated thousands of dollars.

 A school clerk at Little St Augustine’s Primary School in Penhalonga, Mrs Monica Mukandi (40), allegedly failed to account for $2 843. The case has since been referred to police for further investigations.

 At St George’s Muchena Primary School in Penhalonga, the headmaster, a 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 headmaster allegedly converted to personal use $640,50 meant for orphans and vulnerable children.

 The headmaster at Nyajezi Primary School also allegedly failed to account for $375, while at Bangwe Primary School in Chipinge, the school authorities allegedly failed to comprehensively provide supporting documentation for expenditure of $1 900. $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.

 However, at Tsanzaguru, a member of the School Development Committee confirmed that a recent independent external audit by a private auditor revealed that Ms Muchaneta Munhori embezzled about $51 000 and the case has since been reported to police.

 “Yes, there was a recent independent external audit by a private auditor that revealed that Ms Muchaneta Munhori embezzled about $51 000 and the case has since been reported to police. Government auditors are here and doing their work,” said the member of the SDC who spoke on condition of anonymity.

 Interestingly, the audit team in Manicaland has also discovered that parents with children in most schools in the province are still being made to pay incentives for school staff.

 Some of the schools where incentives are being paid under the guise of ‘administrative allowances’ include Nhedziwa High, Kriste Mambo, Dangamvura Primary, Rujeko Primary, Lydia Chimonyo High, Hartzell High, St Augustine’s and Gatsi Secondary, among many others.

 Sources close to the audit confided in this newspaper that in most cases the money parents pay as ‘administrative allowances’ is used to pay a small clique of schools leadership that include the headmaster, his deputy, the senior teacher as well as the teacher-in-charge.

 However, at some schools, such as St Augustine’s, all members of staff, mainly academic staff, receive $80 allowances, while Kriste Mambo gives the headmaster $226, his deputy $211, $201 for the senior teacher, $151 for teachers and students teachers getting $113.

 Manicaland Provincial Education Director Mr Edmore Shumba confirmed that the ongoing audit was exposing a lot of deep-rooted rot in most schools across the province. “Yes, the audit report being compiled shows that there has been rampant corruption in schools.

There has also been the issue of incentives that schools are charging parents. We say it is illegal and the culprits must face disciplinary action. They should have abided by the ministry secretary’s order that incentives should not be paid,” he said.

 Government banned the payment of incentives on April 30 last year. Said Mr Shumba: “The auditors are only covering sampled schools and not each and every other school.

They are also quickly responding to calls or tip-offs from nearby schools wherever they would be conducting their audit.”

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