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Auditors visit Masvingo Poly over ZIMDEF money abuse

Clayton Shereni
Government
Auditors are at Masvingo Polytechnic reportedly to investigate the
institution’s alleged gross abuse of funds including money paid under the Zimbabwe
Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) funds, TellZim News has learnt.
The
money, which is primarily meant for human capital development and to assist
underprivileged students, is said to have been channeled to unclear projects by
the schools’ top authorities including then principal Evans Musara who has
since been transferred to Kwekwe Polytechnic.
Last
year, hundreds of students at the institution staged a demonstration demanding
an explanation as to where their Zimdef money was as they had not been paid for
a long time.
Sources
told TellZim News that a massive exposé was expected as the institution cannot
account for much of the money in question.
“Some
students did not receive their exact allocated amounts, so it’s just a matter
of time before a lot of issues around the Zimdef money are unearthed,” said the
source.
When
contacted for comment, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education permanent
secretary Professor Fanuel Tagwira said the ministry had approached the Auditor
General’s office to audit not only Masvingo Polytechnic but all colleges in the
country.
“We
have people from the Auditor General’s office whom we have asked to audit all
our tertiary institutions. We are trying to improve systems, we actually wrote
them a letter and asked them to audit our tertiary institutions,” said Tagwira.
When
further asked to respond to allegations of abuse of Zimdef money at Masvingo
Polytechnic, Mugwira said other external auditors had done the investigation
and the report will be revealed soon.
“There
was a special audit done by an external company at every institution which
received Zimdef money. There were suspicions that the money was not used in the
appropriate manner so the report is now there; it’s a huge three-volume report.
“When
we came in, we immediately started to restructure Zimdef and we now have a new
management. We are in the process of amending the Manpower Development Act so
that we have a Zimdef board. We are trying to implement the recommendations of
that report,” said Tagwira.
Masvingo
Polytechnic is not new to controversy. Last year, students were forced to re-write
a Hexco examination after suspicions of cheating.
The
students, who had threatened to resist the order accusing the institution of
punishing everybody for the sins of a few, rewrote the exams under the watchful
eye of button stick-wielding police officer, with a vicious police dog on leash.
Zimdef
is widely perceived to be an easy cash cow for corrupt top government officials
in the education sector, with college principals said to be feeding on the
crumbs that filter down when the chefs have had their share.

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