Education boss in corruption storm

MASHONALAND West provincial education director, Sylvester Mashayamombe is facing accusations of abuse of office which have reportedly resulted in him falling out of favour with some of his subordinates.

BY TINOTENDA MUNYUKWI

In a letter gleaned by NewsDay, addressed to Education ministry permanent secretary, Sylvia Utete-Masango from disgruntled employees in Mashonaland West, Mashayamombe is being accused, among other issues, of manipulation of audits, misrepresentation of subsistence claims and harassment of workers.

The letter demands that independent forensic audits be carried out at various schools in the province for the period between 2009 and 2016, alleging that during that time there was non-compliance with procurement guidelines at the instigation of Mashayamombe.

“The man strikes fear in the internal auditors to the extent that he compromises their oversight role and independence. The provincial auditors lack independence in the execution of their duties,” reads the letter.

“Most of the irregularities are done on school uniform projects, tuckshops and generally capital expenditure-related projects. It is in the public interest that independent and forensic audits be done at these schools for the period 2009 – 2016 and the audit scope must cover SSF accounts, GPF, SDC and project accounts like tuckshops.”

The letter further claims that Mashayamombe abused powers vested with his office to manipulate evidence against a fraud case involving his alleged ally and former Kariba district education officer Luckson Mafunda, in which the latter is said to have abused Unicef funds.

Other accusations against Mashayamombe involve hostility towards workers, favouritism and nepotism in the awarding procurement contracts.

A case in point is for the period between 2011-2015 when he is purported to have used his wife as his proxy, to supply chickens for the paralympic and youth games, in the process failing to declare conflict of interest as expected by public service regulations.

Contacted for comment, Mashayamombe said he was in a meeting with Utete-Masango.

“I am in a meeting with the perm sec, I cannot respond to you now, call me after two hours,” he said.

When the two-hour period lapsed, Mashayamombe said: “I am sorry, if that is the issue you have you will have to come to my office in Chinhoyi then we will talk.”

Yesterday, Utete-Masango could not be reached for comment, but NewsDay has it on good authority that she had indicated that she would look into the matter. The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, to which the letter is also addressed to, was also not reachable for comment as commissioner Goodson Nguni’s mobile was not available.

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