School authorities under fire after bus money ‘squandered’

 Michael Magoronga, [email protected]

THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has ordered an investigation into alleged embezzlement of funds at St Martins Primary School in Kwekwe following reports that school authorities squandered money which was meant to purchase a school bus.

The authorities including the then school headmistress, Mrs Theresa Mawere, her deputy, Mr Noel Mudzingwa, School Development Committee chair, one Mr Chifamba and Anglican Church representative, Reverend Taurai Kaerezi are accused of facilitating a loan from two banks meant to purchase a school bus in 2021, which until today has not been bought.

The team reportedly facilitated a $30 million loan from BancABC and an undisclosed amount from CBZ which they got in United States dollars.

Sources said parents were made to pay US$20 per child per term from 2021 and the money which was said to be used to repay the loan was never accounted for.

The school has more than 1 000 learners.

Mrs Mawere resigned three months ago under unclear circumstances, while Mr Chifamba completed his term as chair and vacated the position. Mr Mudzingwa was transferred to Fitchlea Primary School leaving only Rev Kaerezi as the only person fit to answer to the allegations leveled against the quartet.

Contacted for comment, Rev Kaerezi said he was not authorised to speak to the media.

“I am not the right person to comment on such issues, we have a communication department that you should contact,” he said.

Midlands provincial education director, Mr James Machimbira confirmed that the ministry has instituted investigations into the matter. 

“The  issue is awaiting an audit of the school to establish the amounts involved and what the collected funds were used for. We are waiting for the outcome of the audit which  is underway at the school,” he said.

Disgruntled parents recently wrote a petition which was handed over to Kwekwe District  Schools Inspector, Mr Herbert Maziriri after they failed to get satisfactory answers form the school authorities.

The petition was signed by more than 200 parents. 

“We, the undersigned parents /guardians are being made to service a loan for a bus that does not exist. Despite already having an active loan with BancABC, the school even attempted to acquire a second loan for the same purpose from CBZ without our consent. We think this is a sign of gross financial  indiscipline if not an attempt to cover something up,” read the letter.

“We have made numerous attempts to seek clarity from the school authorities and the SDC regarding the whereabouts of the bus, but with no success prompting us to suspect that the loan and by extension, our money may have been misappropriated.”

The parents approached the ministry to intervene.

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