ZIMBABWE – Twenty school heads in the Midlands Province have been suspended for allegedly embezzling school development association (SDA) funds and fraud.
Among the suspended are the Guinea Fowl High School head Manson Mudzingwa and Kwekwe High School headmaster only identified as Shumba, who were served with suspension letters last week.
Mudzingwa is allegedly facing 19 counts to do with of abuse of office, SDA funds and school property.
Shumba is allegedly facing one count of improper association for yet unknown charges.
The suspension of the school heads is a follow up on the purge of unscrupulous Government school heads by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
Ministry officials said at least 10 school heads were suspended after a recent audit conducted by the ministry exposed misappropriation of funds in the schools.
Midlands Provincial Education Director Agnes Gudo confirmed the suspension of the school heads.
She, however, said the number of suspended school heads was not more than 20.
Gudo also did not divulge the amounts involved but parents said the amount ran into millions of dollars.
“Yes, there are school heads that have been suspended but I have no actual numbers but they could be around 10 school heads,” she said.
Patrick Zumbo, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, promised to respond to questions from Chronicle on the exact number of suspended school heads by the close of business yesterday but had not done so.
Last year in November, the heads of Chikumbiro Primary, Mkoba 3 and Nkululeko High Schools were suspended after being implicated in the financial rot following audits.
Mkoba 3 High School headmaster Ronnie Munhenzwa and his Nkululeko High counterpart Jealous Sungwa were served with suspension letters on November 2.
Tariro Matongo, the head of Chikumbiro Primary School, received her letter a week earlier.
Also last year, in Bulawayo Milton High School head William Ncube and his deputy Nosizi Muleya were suspended for alleged abuse of funds.
Townsend High School headmistress Millicent Moyo was censured for contravening the Public Finance Management Act and the Treasury Instructions Act after auctioning pupils’ cellphones without permission.
Forensic audits ordered by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education have revealed that school authorities across the country could have embezzled millions of dollars from levies paid by parents.
According to the report, about 1 800 schools (18 percent) have been audited and the exercise has unearthed massive doctoring of accounts and documents to conceal the shenanigans.
Professor Paul Mavhima, the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, confirmed that the audits unearthed massive theft of funds by school authorities.
He said schools were handling about $1 billion in levies each year.
Prof Mavhima said if misappropriation was allowed to continue, it would result in schools failing to undertake infrastructure development.