Mzimba education manager cleared of K5 million fraud allegation

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.

CPA: Jere

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.

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