M’mbelwa District Council has allowed Mzimba South District Education Manager (DEM)’s office to use the K5 million, which was alleged to have been swindled, for rehabilitation of a lorry which was grounded years ago.
The node was given Friday during full council meeting held at Tovwilane multipurpose Hall at Mzimba Boma.
The K5 million is a contribution from 25 educational zones from zonal improvement grant (ZIG), after primary education advisors, (PEAs) reached a consensus to bring the three tonner lorry , registration N0:023MG 536, back to the road to alleviate transport problems facing the DEM’s office.
The lorry has been grounded for years now as the DEM’s office failed to mobilize resources to maintain the vehicle.
Coordinating primary education advisor (CPEA), Loyiswayo Jere said PEAs reached a consensus to contribute K200,000 from each zone towards rehabilitation of the lorry during an indaba recently, where transport challenges was the main issue, they all agreed, required argent attention.
However, the voluntary K200,000 contribution by each PEA was discovered by Mzimba District Education Network, (MZIDEN) when it was carrying out a survey on implementation of activities using ZIG resources and described the manner the money was acquired as un procedural and fraudulent.
During a press release Thursday, whose topic was ‘Embezzlement of Zonal Improvement Grant by Mzimba South DEM’ office’ MZIDEN Chair person, Texon Amadu gave DEM’s office 14 days ultimatum to refund the money, right from the day of press release, which was contrary to resolution by a full council which endorsed the idea to use the funds for the rehabilitation of the vehicle.
MZIDEN has also warned that failure to bring the money back to the zones will force it to mobilize fellow civil society organizations (CSOs) to launch mass demonstration, a move Jere described as serious lack of consciousness to development
“We will take to court all zonal chairpersons, PEAs, IPC and all controlling officers involved in the transaction,” read part of the press release.
District Commissioner Thomas Chirwa brought the issue in the chamber to seek direction councilors as to whether to return the money or to go ahead with vehicle maintenance plans.
“It seems all members in the chamber are of the idea to use the funds for rehabilitation of the lorry as planned by DEM’ office. When the lorry is back on the road, it will not service officials from DEM’s office only. It will be assisting any one when need arise,” summed up M’mbelwa District Council Chairman, Fumu Mdolo.
Mzimba Police Station Officer, Assistant Commissioner Louis Chagadula warned both, the DC and DEM, Funwel Chiwowa against refunding the money which is currently in a current account as was directed by DC Chirwa.
“ Do not return the money. Use it for the purpose it was intended for. Returning the money will look like it was obtained with clandestine motives, which may attract police investigation,” said Chigadula.
The idea to over-haul the engine of the vehicle was a result of concerns of pupils’ poor performance during primary school leaving certificate (PSLC) examinations in some schools, which, to a larger extent, has been blamed on understaffing in many schools.
“The idea was initiated by PEAs themselves after appreciating transport challenges affecting transfers of teachers from overstaffed schools to deficit ones,” said CPEA, Jere.
Meanwhile, internal procurement committee (IPC) has sourced quotations from reputable car dealers to overhaul the engine, but shockingly, the lowest bidder pegs the price at K6million, a situation that will force the DEM to again rake his pocket hard, to reach the figure.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :