Over five million is said to have been swindled by students through the issuance of bogus receipts by a learner at Lilongwe Technical College.
The college Principal, Dhuya Mtawali disclosed that a second year student Talandira Blackson, studying Community Development connived with outsiders who produced fake receipts and gave to students in exchange for their school fees.
“We discovered this cheating from one student on Tuesday September 19, last week after giving a bogus receipt to a lecturer. The features and signatures were very questionable and that raised eyebrows.
“When the accounts office crosschecked with the receipts it did not match with the duplicate and worse still realized some receipts had same number,” Mtawali said.
He said after cornering the student he revealed that Blackson had issued the receipts to many students in exchange for their school fees and he shares them some money as an agreement in the fees fraud.
He said no lecturer or any college official would easily distinguish the bogus receipts from the genuine ones because the forged receipts were also carrying the college’s auto-dated stamp that was very exact.
“I can sadly confirm that records show that as at present over five million is already squandered through this way from 11 September, 2017 when the school opened. We are still crosschecking other financial registers to establish the exact figures so far lost,” he stated.
The Principal said when Blackson was pinned before his parents he accepted having been issuing the counterfeit receipts and shared the monies to the individual student.
“We later learnt from the parent that Talandira’s real credentials were Twambilire Kishombe. The parents and school management were all left mouth open, as the college had known him with the former name while parents knew him with the latter,” he said.
He predicted that the school would be faced with some challenges that would crop up from the fees gate scam.
“Lecturers salaries, learning and teaching materials, utility bills and food for boarding students are all dependent on the fees collections. This is crucially disturbing news which will put us on a fix,” he hinted.
According to Mtawali tuition fees varies with courses but ranges from K40, 000 to K60, 000 while boarding fees is perked at K120, 000 per student and per semester.
The Principal said the college management has already asked relevant authorities to consider sending auditors to the institution to quickly assist in establishing the precise chunk of money that has vanished and to devise a formula on how to recover the money.
The principal said looking at the gravity and complexity of the case they reasoned to report to Area 36 Police Unit to assist in handling it.
“The police managed to get facts that led to the arrest of four students, one outsider from the devil street who was a custodian of several rubber stamps of various institutions and one shop attendant where Blackson used to print the fake receipt book,” he said.
On his part, Students Union President, Adamson Chakwiya said students were shocked with the deceitful caliber of their fellows and promised to assist the college management identify other culprits in order to reverse the situation and prevent it from occurring again.
‘‘I can confirm that after the arrest, my office has come to know other students who are expressing worry to have been cheated too. In fact they are worried for the next course of action.
“Our serious concern is that this fees gate scam will affect learners here in one way or the other. It’s a shame that it has sent a wrong message and picture to the public, parents and fellow students,” Chakwiya said, while appealing to students to avoid such criminal behaviours.
“What kind of future leaders are we molding for our country, if in higher learning institutions this shame is originating? This is a question to be asked by many,” added Chakwiya.
When this reporter wanted to get comments from Area 36 police unit, they confirmed knowing the issue but referred the reporter to Lilongwe Police Station where they said the suspects were on remand.
However, Lilongwe Police Station Public Relations Office asked for more time before commenting on the matter to liaise with other offices.
“Give us enough time to check on that with Area 36, presently this office is not aware of the issue,” said Kingsley Dandaula who is PRO for the station.
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