After months of waiting for disciplinary action to be taken against a Soweto principal who is implicated in gross financial mismanagement of her school’s funds, Corruption Watch has now opened a criminal case. Read about it in The Star here.
On Thursday last week Corruption Watch opened a case at the Moroka Police Station in Soweto against Thubelihle Intermediate School principal Mrs Nonzwakazi Usiba. The case, Corruption Watch has been advised, has been transferred to the Commercial Crimes Unit, under case number 208/08/2013.
It all started with a tip-off from angry and exasperated teachers at Thubelihle Intermediary School. They alleged corruption and mismanagement on the part of the school principal, among others.
The teachers complained to Corruption Watch about poor infrastructure, a lack of learning material and appalling financial governance, which caused them to question how the school’s budget was being spent.
Before seeking help from Corruption Watch, the teachers addressed their concerns with the Gauteng Department of Education, but became impatient when the department failed to intervene timeously.
On receipt of the tip-off, Corruption Watch began a dedicated investigation into the allegations levelled against the principal, as well as the former school governing body chair.
Corruption Watch was given access to the schools’ books of accounts and enlisted the services of a private forensic firm to assist in tracing the money entrusted to the school for the benefit of the learners.
The forensic report, which covered three financial years, found that the school received just over R1.2-million from the Gauteng Department of Education in the period under review and a further R367 000.00 from donors in Norway.
The forensic report revealed, among other things, that:
- The school principal cashed 41 school cheques amounting to R134 487.56 that were made out to herself. Some cheques indicated they were for “feeding of learners”, but there were no corresponding invoices.
- Ten cheques amounting to R41 059.30 were made out to the former school governing body chair Mr Ngwenya. Again, there were no supporting invoices.
- A number of fake invoices were made out by the school to unknown individuals. For example, the school paid R18 500.31 to an individual based on a fake invoice, purportedly from Heinemann Publishers. But the publishers have no knowledge of the school or their order for isiZulu and isiXhosa textbooks. The forensic report also found that a Heinemann Publishers letterhead was scanned and manipulated to reflect the supposed invoice.
- A payment of R6 000.00 was made to the Star Grill and Buffet at Silverstar Casino in Krugersdorp, against a cheque requisition for “deposit for learner farewell”.
Corruption Watch has furnished the police with a copy of the forensic report.
Before approaching the police, Corruption Watch met with the Gauteng Department of Education to alert them to its investigation findings, as well as furnish them with a copy of the forensic report in the hope that swift disciplinary action would be metered out against the school principal, and that school funds would be preserved for the learners.
Corruption Watch is not aware of the status of any disciplinary action and the department has declined to comment substantively.
“In as far as the disciplinary process is concerned, it remains confidential between the employer and the employee and the outcome will be shared with you as soon as this process is finalised,” said a senior official in the department.
Corruption Watch approached the police due to the criminality uncovered in the forensic report. “Corruption Watch is anxious for both disciplinary and criminal action to be taken in this case without further delay,” said David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch.