School heads, bursars loot  millions in levies
Minister Dokora

School heads, bursars loot millions in levies

More than US$1,2 billion in development levies is circulating in Government and mission schools and a chunk of it is being abused by heads and bursars, an audit has revealed.

Other alleged culprits dipping into the US$1,2 billion largesse include school development association officials.

Audit reports gleaned by The Sunday Mail show that some school authorities have been duplicating receipt books as cover to lay their hands on development funds.

A school in Chitungwiza, for instance, claimed to have sunk a borehole for US$19 000 – an amount sufficient to drill five boreholes.

Another inflated the cost of refurbishing one of its buses to US$27 000.

A learning institution in Harare allegedly falsified its yearly wage bill, pegging it at US$261 709 and officials pocketed the difference, and gave its annual administrative and tea budgets as US$67 000 and US$5 000 respectively. The SDA “purchased” a bus for US$180 0 when the actual cost was no more than US$100 000.

This was also despite a standing Government directive for all schools to buy buses from State Procurement Board- approved dealers.

Yet another school splurged US$44 000 on general repairs, a figure authorities query.

Most culprits have been flouting tender regulations, inflating invoices and quotations, and under receipting and banking.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora told this paper that such flagrant fraud had informed Government’s decision to consider removing cash control from SDAs.

“We know for a fact that more than US$1,2 billion is collected through levies, and if only half of that was used to develop the schools we will be talking of something else.

“We have a backlog of 2 000 schools and are collecting a lot of money. How then do we explain the backlog in infrastructure development? Some schools are overstaffed and these employees earn far more than teachers and heads on civil service salaries. This has become a conduit for corruption.

“There is a disconnect between the levies collected and their use. Most of these schools’ levy collection systems are robust, but when it comes to use, (it’s a different story altogether). What the auditors observed was shocking. It’s clear the situation cannot remain like that.”

Zimbabwe Schools Development Associations secretary-general Mr Everisto Jongwe said it was “an open secret” that some school heads were corrupt.

“It is not a secret that levies are abused. Audits have shown that heads and bursars are implicated. In some cases, we have received reports of headmasters who call for the dissolution of committees that question the way the would have used money, or if they refuse to cooperate with them.

“On that same note, we are not against the dissolution of SDAs, but we need to be consulted so that we can make an input. Parents are important stakeholders in the development of schools and children and should be involved.”

In 2015, Government commissioned an audit into schools’ operations following indications of fraud and abuse of funds.

Comptroller and Auditor-General Ms Mildred Chiri has previously reported on such activities in some Government departments and parastatals, including the education sector.

One case before the courts involves a bursar in Epworth who allegedly connived with the school’s ex-headmistress to steal more than US$8 000.

Another bursar in Westlea, Harare is accused of converting US$30 000 to personal use, while another in Karoi allegedly helped himself to US$39 000.

SDAs are primarily responsible for school development and hiring additional staff were the need arises, and are funded from levies.

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  • Anonymous

    This tells you Mugabe must go and his government!
    Since they took over from Smith,they never bothered to invest in ICT.
    Looting and corruption is this day and age,is mooted out by technology,basa maingodya mari nemvana dzenyu nehama dzemvana dzenyu 30 years later effects of your malpractise are popping out!

    Mugabe ngaende ngaende!

    • Sekuru Karikoga

      Iye Mugabe wakambomubata here achiyita zvema”dhirezi” zvawareva? Murume mukuru uyu, kunyangwe akundikana kutonga kunosimudzira Nyika, ngazvitaurwe kwete kutuka nemazwi anobvisa chimiro. Asi unoda kuti munhu afambe ayine nyadzi here? Vanhu we musanyadzise mukuru weNyika yedu.

      Chakatadza mukuru wedu kuzvitenderedza nema”Yes man” instead nevane ruzivo rwekusimudzira nyika uye vasingatyi kutaura pavanenge vasinga wirirane naye, voramba vakamirira zvinobatsira. Pasi chigare Mambo ayitsiudzwa nemakurukota ake. Kutuka hakuvaki. Ndinzwe zvandareva. Ndiri kuziva zvandiri kutaura nokuti ndave ne 93 years dzekuberekwa. Handisi kunyepa machewe, ndini Guri, mwana waDuri, muzukuru waDura ayinzi Mutangadura arere mujinga reGandamasungo pedyo neHwedza.

      Zvowo shamarara uchiti ngayende unomuvengereyi? Unoti ngayende asi huzive here kuti ve”West” hava mude. Vakamumaka nema”sanctions.” Dayi Zimbabwe yese yodaro ndayi mudayidza ndomukamurira munda pano paKarikoga. Ini ndotowana shamwari tichiyenda kuNdari kana kunotamba dance pa Growth Point.

  • Zvichapera

    Let us talk of government companies and entities which are busy creating billionaires out of thieves. Some are even lecturing that there is thin line between a thief and a businessperson, because they know how they got their so called wealth. The diversion of attention to non entities is ZANU PF ploy. We know where we are bleeding, let us write even the whole newspaper about the US$15 billion lost diamond money. The peanuts are not the cause of the rot of the economy. It is the looting of the highest order which we need to write about. Time will tell.

  • Lokayi WaNkomponi

    How dare you school heads eat instead of the politicians?! Let the billion dollars be administered by govt who’ve got the God given right to eat on your behalf!

  • emily

    I am a teacher at a school in Harare, our head bought cars and build houses and stole a lot of property that was bought as school property but for his personal use. Many prices were inflated for things like refurbishing benches and other school property but our cries to the government even articles by the press fell on deaf ears. Until the situation got seriously out of hand that the ministry at long last came to make an audit and Guess what happened!! The headmaster was even transferred to a better school where l believe he is looting even more money.

    We want more disciplinary measures taken and a re-structuring of the staffing team and their managers because most of these headmasters are related to the guys in the offices and are always immune to discipline after looting from schools and they just swap them around. The whole system is a shame and this looking after each other business is bringing down our standards in the education sector. These heads should be demoted to teachers and send to work in the remote areas of the country and made to pay fines and or suspension without pay before they start work in rural areas. They should allow whistle blowing and protect the source then name and shame all the looters.

  • Sabhuku

    These are lies meant to deflect our attention only. Why did you not hand over your dossier to police and sue for recovery of the stolen money? Munotiita madofo chaiwo kandi? Iko kutozoti $1.2bn! Munoiziva here value yemari yamuri kutaura minister – i mean juxtapose amount to our budget then you will see what i mean. Factor fact yekuti there is probably 50% remaining which was put to good use then the number stops making sense.
    Minister moreva nhema. Vasungisei tione kuti muri kurevesa.

  • ConcernedParent

    Please investigate Losikeyi Primary, Bulawayo. Give us an anonymous platform

  • Zvichapera

    This is not rigid fixation, for your own information, the platform has been narrowed to ZANU PF arena, as ZANU PF is the Government and everything. Who do you expect to arrest thieves, who do you expect to enforce accountability, who do you think should lead by example to ensure there is no culture of impunity; it is all ZANU PF thugs who have messed up everything. This fish rots from the head.

  • DarkChild

    Never with a government like this shall you see prosecutions for corruption. Yes, there might be exposed, but they will just be laid-off and still walk free with their loot. This is because we have a government that has tolerated and reaffirmed corruption and lack of transparency within it’s own institutions – including the police. Chances are a lot of the school heads have ZANU links hence they do what they do with all confidence they will be spared prosecution. Case in point – look how people like Energy Mutodi are busy flaunting their wealth in the streets of Harare without fear.

  • mubereki

    its possible since SDA SDC are only involved pakuronga zvinhu then when it comes to procurement the school has its own procurement board that dose not include the SDC and the SDC finance committee signs for the money after the procurement team has scouted for the best prices of thier own choice and the procurement team comprises of the Senior teacher cum senior thieves

    SDC treasurer is not a signatory in the School development finance committee why?
    Treasurer is suppose to give a financial report to the parents when he is not included in finance decision making ?
    minister ongorora ipapo