School Committee member Obert Manduna Arrested for Fraud

A School Development Committee (SDC) treasurer at Coghlan Primary School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe has appeared in court on a charge of allegedly misappropriating more than $12 000 in school funds. 32-year-old Obert Manduna was allegedly underpaying service providers contracted by the SDC on behalf of the school and converting part of the money into his own use.

He was not formally charged with fraud when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Ms Gladmore Mushove yesterday. Manduna was remanded to 11 September on $250 bail and ordered to report once a week every Friday at Bulawayo Central Police Station. The school is being represented by the SDC chairperson Mr Ndumeya Moyo.

Manduna’s duties as a treasurer included receiving money on behalf of the SDC and arranging payments that would have been approved by the committee. Allegations as presented by Mr Kudakwashe Jaravaza for the State are that between February last year and May this year, Manduna allegedly underpaid a number of the school’s contractors on separate incidents despite having been given full amounts by the committee.

The court was told that the school had released the money to the committee. Investigations by the SDC revealed that Manduna allegedly pocketed the money and he promised to pay it back after being asked. The court was told that the SDC ordered an internal audit of its books and it emerged that a total of $12 078 which was supposed to be paid to contractors who had provided lighting, painting and repair services had been stolen.

The school has since applied to have Government auditors as it suspects that about $20 000 could have been embezzled. A report was made to the police leading to Manduna’s arrest.

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