MUREHWA magistrate Paul Mudonhi has granted 55-year-old Chemhondoro Primary School acting headmaster, Douglas Matonzi $400 bail in a case in which he is being accused of arson.
By Jairos Saunyama
Matonzi is jointly charged with Tendai Zambezi (28), the school bursar, for allegedly setting fire to the school’s administration office in a desperate bid to conceal evidence of misappropriation of funds.
As part of his bail conditions, Matonzi, who is charged with malicious damage to property, has been confined to within a 40km radius of Marondera. He was also asked to report at Marondera Central Police Station daily.
However, Zambezi was remanded in custody after pleading guilty to the charge and will appear in court today.
Matonzi will return to court on January 27.
It is the State’s case that, on January 9, at around 2pm, a team of government internal auditors visited the school and carried out an audit on the school financial books and records.
The auditors allegedly asked Matonzi to issue an instruction to all the pupils that they needed to bring all their receipts the following day. Matonzi was also asked to provide a bank statement dating back to 2009.
State papers show that Matonzi and Zambezi took the financial records, which were being used by the auditors, and placed them in the headmaster’s office on top of chairs along the wall adjacent to the storeroom. At around 7:45pm, a fire broke out in the headmaster’s office, and school staff, including the accused, and some villagers rushed to the scene and put out the blaze with sand and water.
Investigating police officers then discovered a purple petrol container near the scene. Various items of property and books were burnt. Zambezi, on being quizzed, admitted to the offence and implicated Matonzi.