POLICE in Murewa have arrested the acting headmaster and bursar of Chemhondoro Primary School, accusing them of setting ablaze the administration office in a bid to destroy financial records following a visit to the school by government auditors.
By Jairos Saunyama
The acting head, Douglas Matonzi (55), and bursar, Tendai Zambezi (28), are expected to appear in court today.
When NewsDay visited the school yesterday, top officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, police and the Central Intelligence Organisation officials were at the scene, facilitating investigations.
The headmaster’s office had its roof blown up, with asbestos debris littered all over. Inside the office were bunches of burnt stationery, flags and furniture.
Mashonaland East provincial education director, Christopher Chihota confirmed the incident and said the headmaster would face internal disciplinary action, despite the matter being handled by the police.
He said the bursar had admitted to having burnt the school’s financial records.
“It is true, I was told by the DSI (district school inspector) that an acting school head and a clerk at Chemhondoro Primary School allegedly torched the administration office to conceal evidence following a visit by auditors. We have a team of auditors, who are moving around in schools to find out how financial issues are being managed,” Chihota said.
“They got to Chemhondoro on Monday and started their work and by the end of day, they left and told the authorities that they were coming back the following morning. However, the office caught fire and, according to the DSI, the school clerk admitted that he had committed the offence and implicated the school head.
“Despite the police handling the matter, as a ministry, we will take appropriate measures to deal with the issue.
The destruction of the records in the block can only aggravate the circumstances.”
According to information gathered by this paper, Chemhondoro Primary School, which is one of the biggest learning centres in Mashonaland East province, currently has an enrolment of 1 700 pupils, with each paying $14 per term.
According to police, the fire broke out in the headmaster’s office in the evening, and school teachers, including the accused and other villagers, rushed to the scene and put out the blaze using sand and water.
Police officers then discovered a purple container with petrol near the scene, while various property and books were burnt in the blaze.
The officers recovered a stock asset register, furniture inventory register and $1 082 in school fees from Zambezi’s house.
The matter is being investigated under ZRP Musami RRB 3045382.