Sad case of man Absolved of fraud after his death

The Chronicle

Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Reporter

HE probably died a very pained man while his co-accused has been living a miserable life for the past five years after they were accused and arrested, allegedly at the instigation of a member of the school administration, for having defrauded Lukhanyiso Primary School of huge monies when they allegedly purchased a second-hand school bus, claiming it was new.

This was in 2018 when the late Mr Thintitha Moyo who passed away in January 2023, the then Mpopoma-based primary school headmaster, and the former School Development Committee (SDC) chairperson Mr Phethengani Nyoni ‘bought’ a 66-seater bus after having applied for a loan from the school’s bank.

The bus was bought and delivered to the school whereupon its unveiling, there was cheer and merry making from parents, teachers, and the learners, except probably from one member of the school administration (name supplied), who then nicodemusly and under the cover of ‘paying due diligence’, hatched a plan that would eventually lead to the SDC chairperson becoming fraud accused.

The administration member produced documents showing what the member claimed were discrepancies in the figures which showed that the bus was actually a 62-seater, not a 66-seater as claimed by Mpofu and Nyoni hence the amount used to purchase the bus ought to have been lower than the one given.

The bus was manufactured by Willowvale Vehicle Body Engineering in collaboration with Deven Engineering in Harare.

The documents were handed over to two parents, who were then told to make a hasty visit to the police station and open a case of fraud, which they did on April 1, 2018. What was unbeknown to the parents was that the papers they were given by the insider were in fact not authentic. On October 31, 2018, Western Commonage police released the outcome of their investigations.

“Reference to your report to the police on April 1, 2018. It is advised that as a result of investigations carried out, the report was found to be false, on inquiry. The relevant papers are held by this station pending possible receipt of further information. In the event of any new developments, you will be advised,” wrote the police.

Alarmed by the developments at the school, parents also set up an ad hoc committee to carry out its own investigations, this time against Nyoni only. They agreed to have the committee chaired by the Mzilikazi District Schools Inspector, Zanele Muyambo. The committee’s mandate was to check if all procedures of purchasing the bus were followed as per Ministry requirements. The committee did carry out its investigations and concluded that the purchase of the bus satisfied Ministry’s requirements.

While investigations were going on, parents resolved to have the bus returned to the dealer, a resolution which was adhered to.In the meantime, having been cleared by the police, Nyoni, now a community outcast, wanted his name cleared and his dignity restored so he approached his lawyers, Ncube and Partners legal practitioners who then wrote to the office of the DSI demanding the ad-hoc committee’s findings to be made public to the parents, which they felt will help ‘cleanse’ Nyoni of the fraudster tag.

“I would like to inform you that the request you made will be done on the 24th of February 2023 which is the date the school has set up for its annual general meeting. This is the suitable date as the majority of parents will be in attendance and it’s in accordance with the notice that is given t parents for any meeting to be held. A report on the findings of the committee was actually done to the parents at a meeting held on July 22, 2019. It is the same report that will be read out as requested by your office. The issue regards your client was actually cleared by the police,” responded Muyambo in her letter to Nyoni’s legal team.

Muyambo attended a highly charged AGM yesterday, 24 February, at the school where tempers flared and could have even degenerated into unprintable verbal exchanges but her calming presence doused the fires.

Muyambo read her committee’s report which absolved Nyoni of any criminal mischief. The meeting also agreed that the bus must come back to base.

Sadly, the late headmaster of the school, Mpofu, will never get to see the bus again, as will his fraud co-accused freedom. @skhumoyo2000.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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