A Rusape headmaster who bypassed the tender process and corruptly handpicked a company to supply computers to his school was in July sentenced to a three-year jail term after he was found guilty of criminal abuse of office.
Benson Matare (59) the headmaster of Mabvazuva Primary School will however serve an effective two years behind bars after magistrate Mr Shane Kubonera set aside one year on condition of good behavior.
Matare who was represented by a Harare based lawyer had pleaded not guilty however overwhelming evidence his was led from his subordinates, School Development Committee members and Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education officials.
Matare, who three years ago was demoted from being Makoni district deputy schools inspector due a number of scandals, awarded a contract worth $42 837, 00 to Lifemark Computers Pvt without following tender procedures.
Public prosecutor Mr Gift Mutigwa told the court that Matare was supposed to source for competitive quotations from three different suppliers but he showed favour to Lifemark Computers by hand-picking it.
“Sometime in October 2017 the parents for students enrolled at Mabvazuva Primary School resolved to acquire computer laboratory equipment which compromised 40 Thin Clients computers and nine interactive smart boards complete with projectors.
“Matare as the headmaster had the mandate to spearhead the process of acquiring the said equipment. Instead of inviting for three competitive quotations from different companies to tender for the supply of the equipment for all purchases above $10 000, (he) unlawfully handpicked and entered into a contract with Lifemark Computers to supply the computers worth $42 837, 00. This was contrary or inconsistent with accused’s duties as a public officer.”
Mr Mutigwa said the offence came to light sometime in April 2018 when numerous complains of misappropriation of funds at the school were received by the Makoni District schools inspector Nathaniel Machini.
Meanwhile Matare has since been granted bail pending appeal of both conviction and sentence by the High Court.
— Teacher Magazine Correspondent