By Tonderai Saharo
PARENTS and guardians with pupils attending Catholic-run Gokomere High and Primary schools, have approached the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) demanding an audit of the learning centres’ finances while complaining standards were “nose-diving”.
The two Masvingo-based schools are some of the best performing learning centres in Zimbabwe.
The petition was addressed to the ZACC executive secretary Sukai Tongogara and copied to the Auditor General’s Office, the President’s Office, Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, and the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference.
The parents are requesting an audit of the institution’s financials suspecting misappropriation of funds by the schools’ authorities.
“We, the parents of children learning at Gokomere Primary and Secondary schools are kindly praying and requesting your reputable office to urgently come to the rescue of us, parents, and our children, and have an audit of these schools’ finances,” the petition reads in part.
“We have witnessed children’s welfare conditions deteriorate as years pass by to the extent that our children’s welfare and education have been grossly compromised and have reached deplorable levels.”
The parents said they tried to seek audience with the respective headmasters and the priest-in-charge of the schools but to no avail.
“This has led the parents to assume that there is gross mismanagement of funds at the institutions since fees paid don’t tally with services provided. Therefore, we seek your intervention and clarity on the issue of ‘mismanagement of funds which we suspect.”
According to the protest letter, the priest-in-charge kept the school’s bank cards and uses them for personal expenses which were against the government’s statutes.
“One of the statutes of the mission bars any member of the responsible authority to be a signatory to the school’s account but the priest-in-charge is the signatory.
“The responsible authority is only supposed to be given 10% from the fees paid but their involvement in the school’s account renders that government requirement useless. The responsible authority is getting more than 10%,” read the petition.
The parents also accused Masvingo province Education Ministry officials of derelict of duty, and corruption as some of them were implicated in supplying the Gokomere schools with goods and services.
“We no longer have faith in the local (Education) Ministry officials and auditor’s capacity to do the job since they appear like accomplices and beneficiaries of the corrupt system since conditions and the learner’s welfare have been deteriorating for years and they simply decided to ignore all that.
“In fact, we strongly feel that they also need to be charged with gross incompetence, aiding and abating corruption, and some for being corrupt themselves.” reads the petition.