Victor Maphosa Herald Correspondent
THE Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has launched investigations into a slew of fraud and corruption allegations levelled against Sandringham High School headmaster, Mr John Mahaso.
Over the weekend, social media was awash with messages accusing the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe-run school head of abusing fuel, farm inputs and corruptly selling himself a school truck that he now hires to the same school.
He reportedly condemned the UD truck barely two weeks after being serviced for $15 000 but sold himself the same vehicle through a disputed auction cheaply.
The school now hires the same truck from the headmaster whenever need arises, for a fee.
It is also alleged that Mr Mahaso would commandeer a mission tractor to work at his farm, some 25km away.
Chegutu District Schools Inspector Mr Edson Chauke confirmed receiving the allegations.
He said investigations were already underway to establish the truth.
“Yes, we have received a documents accusing Sandringham High School headmaster Mr Mahaso of abuse of office and fraud. Investigations are already underway as we speak, and a team of auditors is heading for the school to investigate on all the allegations.
“The aim is to get to the bottom of the issues. That is all I can say for now,” he said.
The circulated document was copied to Sandringham parents, Staff, SDC, Board of Directors and the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.
It was also copied to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Chegutu district office, provincial office and the Ministry’s head office.
Reads part of the document: “This document serves to expose the rampant corruption perpetrated by Sandringham High School headmaster Mr John Mahaso who is hell-bend on enriching himself at whatever cost to the school.”
The document went on to list at least six allegations which the anonymous author said they required a probe.
Mr Mahoso, could neither confirm nor deny the allegations when The Herald we visited him this week.
He however, referred all the questions to his superiors at the district office in Chegutu.
“I became aware of the allegations on social media, however, at the moment I cannot say anything concerning the issue. I am not allowed to say anything, you can get in touch with the district office in Chegutu,” Mr Mahaso said.
According to the document, the Sandringham High head is accused of abusing school vehicle and fuel.
“The head has personalised the school vehicles. His abuse of school fuel is astonishing. Shockingly, the school buys 10 000 litres of diesel every term, the bulk of which, is for his personal use.
“For the past five years, he has been staying at his farm, 25 kilometres away and drives to and from school daily.
“The distance translates into 50 kilometres per day and 1000 kilometres every month.
“Basically all his farming activities are financed by the school, as he almost daily, unashamedly fills up 20 litre plastic containers and jerry cans with school fuel before taking it to his farm.
“The vehicle has been so personalised such that he takes it away for weekends and even when on leave, for personal use.”
Despite the school buying 10 000 litres of fuel per term, the report reads, students are forced to forego evening studies due to purported unavailability of fuel to run the small generator that powers the school.
Farming inputs meant for the mission, according to the report, are diverted to the headmaster’s farm for personal use.
“Mahaso has deliberately, destroyed all farming activities in the school to ensure he supplies the school with beef, pork, chicken and maize from his farm at inflated prices he decides. He has unscrupulously channelled all school inputs to his farm, in particular the 2018 Command fertilizer.
“Recently the school bought over 60 heifers from a local judge’s farm and he rewarded himself with five heifers for facilitating the deal.
“Now, more than half of them have died due to deliberate non-buying of vaccines, this being done to maintain the school as prime market for his beef with inflated prices.”
Allegations are also that he takes school stock feed to his farm and sells back the produce to the school at inflated prices and also he demands payment in cash.
He is said to have also borrowed thousands of dollars from the school last year and has not honoured the debt.
It is also alleged that the school used to have a UD truck which Mr Mahaso condemned just a few weeks after it was serviced at a cost of US$15000.
In no time, the report reads, he bought that same truck at an auction and exchanged it for nine tonnes of maize from his farm.
“The school now hires the same lorry from him at exorbitant prices. He has also hired contractors to develop the school ground at a cost of US$14 000 but the ground was not developed and the money was never recovered,” reads the document.
“The head and other senior administration staff are awarding themselves outrageous benefits. The administration made up of the head and his wife (senior teacher), awarded themselves RTGS 3000 every month, monthly groceries consisting of 5 litre cooking oil, 5kg of sugar, 20 kg mealie meal, salt and soap.
“In addition, each member of the admin gets 2 litres of fresh milk, two loaves of bread every day. “Other benefits include five chickens, 10 kg of beef every month from school stocks. “