By Danisa Masuku
GOVERNMENT has vowed that the senior management at Rhodes Estate Preparatory School (Reps) will not get away with fraud but “will face the music” for allegedly setting up a secret foreign currency account (FCA) to illegally siphon funds from the school through the black market.
An audit was carried out to look into allegations of financial mismanagement raised against the school headmaster Patrick Nyoni through the Provincial Education Director.
The report noted that school authorities opened a forex bank account whose signatories were the Headmaster, his deputy Albina Ncube and senior teacher a Sanelisiwe Ndlovu.
This, according to the report, was in contravention of standard procedure as the trio did so without the knowledge of the other members of the Finance Committee from the School Development Committee who represent the parent side.
A total of US$3 116,25 was, between the period from February and May of 2019, deposited into the account by three foreign students as fees.
No corresponding receipts were raised in respect of the deposit fuelling fears that the school may not have realised the value of the income given the secretive handling of the funds and the lack of competent input from the other members of the School Development Committee.
The report further indicated that the absence of authority, of committing the forex income to use, is likely to suggest that the funds were not properly used as per budgeted projections since the destination accounts of the funds were not allocated the respective funds.
The handling of 10 000 pula paid to the school by a Botswana-based parent in respect of fees was also flagged by the audit.
The school received 10 000 pula in respect of fees and raised receipts number 086119 from a “pick up” receipt book dated 8 July 2019. The report noted that the said receipt book was not current but was an unfinished receipt book last used by the school in 2011 (during the multi-currency era) as a receipt book for Rand payments.
This, the report curiously noted, was despite the fact that the school had a current receipt book (Serial number 982001-982100) which was designated for foreign currency receipts.
No authority was subsequently sought by the school to use the funds and that no payment vouchers were raised in respect of the expenditure. In addition, no formal documents were present to show how the funds converted and what rate was used.
Another smoking gun was an amount of RTGS$960-00 in respect of an unauthorised expenditure raised through an unnumbered payment voucher.
The report found that internal checks and controls were compromised since the expenditure was not properly authorised.
A complaint report in possession of this publication raised a red flag pointing out that, Nyoni is allegedly not raiding the school coffers alone, but is aided by his deputy Miss Albina Ncube and some teachers.
They are alleged to have gone on shopping sprees in Botswana using the looted funds.
In an interview with B-Metro the Provincial Education Director for Matabeleland South Province Lefias Masukume said: “At the moment I’m not at work, I’m attending a funeral, I lost a brother who was based in South Africa.
“I have not yet received the audit report, what I can assure the public is that if the report nails any one, that person will face the music because Government wants to root out corruption and corrupt elements.”
The finding together with other deviations from the School Services Fund Operations Manual section 8 subsection 7 and the General Purpose Fund Handbook and Treasury Instructions 0411 is contained in the audit report by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
The allegations against Nyoni were documented and sent to ZRP Matopo, CID Plumtree, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Matabeleland North education office and the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. B-Metro