THE Chemhondoro Primary School headmaster in Murewa, who connived with the school bursar to burn the administration offices in a bid to destroy evidence following a visit by auditors, has been sentenced to five years in jail by Murewa magistrate Chiedza Gadzi, who found him guilty of malicious damage to property.
By Jairos Saunyama
Douglas Matonzi (55) who pleaded not guilty to the charges, will, however, serve an effective four-and-a-half years after six months were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
Matonzi’s co-accused, Tendai Zambezi (29), was convicted in January this year of the same offence and is currently serving his jail term.
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 of financial books and records.
The auditors asked Matonzi to issue an instruction to all the pupils at the school that they needed to bring all their receipts the following day.
Matonzi was also asked to provide bank statements dating back to 2009.
State papers showed 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.
The value of property damaged in the inferno was pegged at $1 400.
Panganai Chiutsi represented the State.