Faith Mabuto Midlands Reporter
A 34-year-old untrained teacher at Siyahokwe High School, Chirumhanzu, who has been practising as a teaching assistant to a visually impaired teacher using a forged Ordinary Level certificate, has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Oliver Hwinya of Hwinya village, Chief Chirumhanzu in Chirumhanzu, was convicted on his own plea of guilty to two counts of forgery and fraud by Gweru Provincial Magistrate, Musaiwona Shotgame.
Hwinya, who was sentenced to five years in prison, will, however, serve an effective 12 months in prison after a year was suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
A further three years were suspended on condition he restitutes the government $14,006, 97 he fraudulently received as salary.
In mitigation Hwinya said he was a father of three children and wanted to to provide for his family.
“Your worship I know what I did was wrong but I wanted to find employment so I could take care of my family. Please forgive me and be lenient with me,” a remorseful Hwinya pleaded with the court.
Prosecuting, Andrew Marimo told the court that on January 10, 2010, Hwinya submitted an altered photocopy of Zimbabwe School Examinations Council November 2001 certificate to Gracious Chamusi, an officer with the Public Service Commission.
“On June 4 this year, Hwinya took his forged document and stamped it with the school deputy Headmaster’s stamp without his knowledge, certifying the altered photocopy as a true copy of the original,” said Marimo.
The court heard that assistants of the visually impaired teachers were being paid through the visually impaired teachers’ accounts and the government discovered that they had been underpaying them.
As a result, Marimo said, the government ceased the salaries of the assistant teachers before advising them to resubmit their contract forms and qualifications.
He said on June 9 this year, Hwinya went to Mvuma Public Service Commission offices to submit his contract forms and qualifications to Chamusi who then discovered that an E symbol had been altered to a C symbol.
“Chamusi examined the original certificate and the photocopy and noted the differences before reporting the matter to the police leading to Hwinya’s arrest,” said Marimo.