Headmaster Bans Auditor Investigating US$800,000
2 July 2023
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The head of Ndarama High School in Masvingo, Oddy Matongo, has come under fire as he reportedly blocked an external forensic auditor from examining the school’s financial records. This action has stirred the ire of parents who have long complained about the alleged misuse of school funds. The controversy surrounding the situation has raised concerns about transparency and accountability within the school’s administration.

Blocking auditor… headmaster Oddy Matongo

Refusal to Cooperate

According to Martin Makweza, the Ndarama SDA chairman, the auditor arrived at the school last week to access certain books of accounts. However, the headmaster refused to hand over the requested documents, insisting that the auditor should first review previous sets of books. Ironically, the very books the auditor sought to examine were missing from the school and allegedly being held by a former SDA chairperson, Enesia Chekacheke.

Suspected Embezzlement

Parents, who have been vocal about their concerns regarding the handling of school funds, have voiced suspicions of systematic embezzlement within Ndarama High School. In a bid to address the situation, they previously took legal action to remove a long-standing chairperson, Ray Muzenda, who had served in the position for 18 years and refused to step down.

Government Auditors vs. External Auditors

When approached for comment, Headmaster Matongo declined and referred inquiries to the District Schools Inspector (DSI), Ismael Chigaba. Chigaba clarified that Ndarama High School, being a government school, is subject to audit by government auditors exclusively. He emphasized that external auditors are not permitted to conduct audits in government schools. Chigaba further noted that government auditors had already conducted an audit in January, with the results submitted to the Ministry for review and response.

The Need for Transparency and Accountability

Parents are seeking clarity on the management of school funds and have raised concerns over several financial matters. One such issue is an alleged loan of US$800,000 obtained from BANC ABC, the purpose of which has not been disclosed to parents. Additionally, there is a reported case of US$4,270 being utilized by the school authority without proper banking procedures. The lack of transparency and Matongo’s alleged arrogance have left parents frustrated, leading them to question who might be supporting his actions.

Parental Intervention

Parents have successfully intervened in the matter previously, as they were able to reverse a purported school fee increase of US$158 imposed by Matongo. After their efforts, the fee was settled at US$80 per term. This success in challenging the headmaster’s decisions demonstrates the determination of parents to hold the school administration accountable for financial matters.

The situation at Ndarama High School in Masvingo highlights the importance of transparency, accountability, and proper financial management in educational institutions. The alleged refusal of the headmaster to allow an external forensic auditor to access the school’s financial records, combined with concerns raised by parents regarding missing books and suspected embezzlement, has raised serious questions about the governance of the school.-Mirror