Monday, 11 April 2016

MASSIVE SCAM UNEARTHED AT SEKE 1 SCHOOL

THE Auditor-General has unearthed massive financial irregularities at Seke 1 High School in Chitungwiza ranging from inflating of prices for services rendered, duplication of receipt books for levies and illegal payment of allowances to staff members. The audit followed a request by parents who alleged that the headmaster grossly abused funds.

An audit report dated February 8, 2016, which The Herald is in possession of, confirms use of duplicated school receipts. The use of duplicated receipt books prejudiced the school of $53 000. The receipting clerk, a Ms S Mujokoro, was responsible and this happened under the full view of the school head.

“Audit acknowledges use of duplicated receipt books which took place between the period May 2014 and February 2015. This was verified through matching the top copies submitted to audit by pupils against the used receipt books (carbon copies) present at the school.

“Despite having the same receipt numbers, some receipts had different information with regards to the name of the pupil, date, class, amount and the signature of the issuing officer. “Some receipts bearing the same receipt numbers (top and carbon copies) bore the same information but had different handwritings,” reads the audit report.

On allegations that the school bus was refurbished for $27 000, the audit notes that the service provider C & P Coach Builders & Spray Painters was paid $8 000. “Evidence obtained by audit revealed that the service provider C & P Coachbuilders & Spray Painters was paid more than $8 000 for refurbishing the bus. The payment was authorised by members of the School Development Committee.

“The total amount agreed upon by the SDC executive and the school administrators for the refurbishment of the bus could not be verified as minutes of the meetings held were not availed for audit during the time of audit,” reads the audit report.

The audit also revealed that the school was deducting Pay as You Earn and Aids Levy from staff members without handing the money to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

“The school was deducting PAYE and AIDS Levy from the employees’ salaries without remitting it to ZIMRA. This was for the period July 2015 to the date of audit. The school head, Mr Taruvinga Chrispen confirmed to audit that all the papers were in order and had signed but was waiting for the School Development Committee members, the secretary and the chairperson to sign and bring copies of ID as requested by ZIMRA,” the audit report reads.

It was, however, recommended that the school remits PAYE and AIDS Levy deducted from employees’ salaries to ZIMRA without delay.

The audit report also noted that illegal allowances were paid to staff members and ordered reimbursement by those who benefited.

“The school was paying out allowances to the members of staff as follows; sports master allowances to Mr Rafemoyo amounting to $180 at $60 per term on the following dates, March 26, 2015, August 5, 2015 and December 3, 2015; and ZIMSEC registration to Ms Chindudzi amounting to $350 as follows: $100 on April 20, 2015, voucher 31 and $250 on June 15, 2015 voucher 49,” the report reveals.

The headmaster was advised to ensure that allowances paid to members of staff are reimbursed.
The audit further unearthed improper procurement of services with companies belonging to friends being favoured. Noted the audit report: “The SDC entered into a contract with three companies to supply the school with uniforms, jerseys and shoes. These three companies had been supplying these items before but were re-engaged and asked to sign contracts with the school.

“Regarding this, audit noted that; the Procurement Committee was not involved in the procurement of these services. Instead, the Projects Committee carried out the duties of the Procurement Committee.

“Three quotations sourced by the Procurement Committee were not considered as the Projects Committee took over. The companies chosen were invited and awarded with contracts through recommendations by some Project Committee members without any tendering being done in violation of Procurement Regulations Statutory Instrument 171 of 2002.”
The audit report noted that there was a risk of awarding tenders to preferred suppliers for personal benefit; and flouting of procurement procedures which may call for penalties to be instituted against the school by the responsible authorities.

It recommended that the school terminates the contracts without delay and allow the Procurement Committee to carry out the required procurement processes as required by Procurement Regulations, Statutory Instrument 171 of 2002 on tendering methods.

It noted that the accounting assistant only identified as Mr M Manize had resigned without a proper hand over take over and recommended that the school ropes in the police. This was after Mr Manize refused to come back to Seke 1 High for the proper hand over take over.

“An amount of $850 was under banked from a total amount of $3 045 collected through master receipts 513 and 514. Of this amount, only $2 195 was banked on March 16, 2015.

“Audit enquiry revealed that; $1 155, which Ms S Mujokoro banked on March 16, 2015 out of a total of $1 925 collected on March 6, 2015 through receipts 52739 to 52788 was given to her by the accounting assistant, Mr M Manize, who had been instructed by the school head, Mr C Taruvinga; it also revealed that Ms S Mujokoro banked $1 140 on March 16, 2015 out of a total of $1 220 collected on March 16, 2015 through receipts 52789 to 52818.

“The shortfall of $80 was cash that had been earlier receipted by the accounting assistant Mr M Manize, who did not submit it to Ms S Mujokoro for banking; and it revealed that the accounting assistant Mr M Manize acknowledged having under banked the money in his letter of resignation which was addressed to the former chairperson Mr M Nyakuba, who confirmed having seen the letter.

“The Human Resources Committee was assigned to deal with the issue and asked Mr Manize to come in person for the handover takeover. Mr Manize did not turn up. The money had not been recovered up to the time of audit even though Mr Manize asked the committee to recover the money from his March salary and the leave days encashment,” reads the audit report.

Added the report: “Change from voucher 19/ 15 of $96 receipted on master receipt 499 was not banked and has no evidence of use on school business. This was receipted by the accounting assistant Mr M Manize.”

The audit report therefore stated that there was a risk of theft of school funds and recommended that the school recovers a total of $946 ($850 and $96) from the former accounting assistant Mr M Manize, without delay.

The audit was, however, silent on allegations that the borehole was drilled for $19 000 and made reference to the 2013 audit. The 2013 audit in The Herald’s possession confirmed that the borehole was drilled for $19 000.

“The tender for installation of a borehole was advertised in The Herald on October 17, 2012. Only one company (Dore & Pitt) responded and was awarded the tender. It is reported that the company drilled on three sites at the school where it encountered problems of a rocky surface after drilling for about 30 metres, and on the second instance found the weather capacity unsuitable and contaminated after carrying out tests. The company finally succeeded to drill a borehole on the third site but the school is still facing running water challenge.

“The contract signed between Dore & Pitt Private Limited and the School Development Association was not detailed in terms of the service provided by the contractor. The contractual agreement between the two parties lacked the bill of quantity the service provider was going to supply.

“The cost on the signed document was $9 045,69 for drilling the borehole, supply of submersible pump, 10 000 litre tank, tank stand which will be 4,5 metres high and all accessories to connect to the existing water system of the school.

“A total amount of $19 022 was used towards drilling and installation of a borehole at the school,” reads the audit report. The audit report noted that there was a high risk that the school budget would be overstretched.

“It recommended that contractual agreements should be detailed with enough information from both parties. herald

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