Education official up for abuse of office

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HARARE – A human resources assistant in the ministry of Education appeared in court yesterday charged with fraudulently adding 31 unqualified teachers for employment considerations.

Sibongile Mashandure, 40, appeared before Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe charged with criminal abuse of office.

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She was released on $50 bail, ordered to continue residing at her present address, not interfere with witnesses and report every Friday at CID Frauds in Harare.

The complainant is Civil Service Commission(CSC) represented by Shepherd Murwisi, 51, the general manager Human Resources and Operations.

Prosecutor Peter Kachirika alleged that between October last year and February this year Mashandure connived with eight accomplices who have already appeared in court and hatched a plan to misrepresent their employer.

The court heard that they took advantage of their positions and intercepted letters of authority for conversion from “contract” to “indefinite conditions of service” for teachers who did not meet the required conditions.

Mashandure would scan and manipulate the letters by adding other names of undeserving teachers before sending the documents for approval to the Education ministry.

The ministry would in turn dispatch the letters to the provincial education directors for relevant action.

According to court records Mashandure added 31 unapproved applicants for approval.

The offence came to light on March 3 this year after a performance audit and inspectorate agency in Manicaland received an anonymous letter alleging that human resources personnel at Chipinge were engaging in corruption and nepotism.

Part of the complaint was that they manufactured fake conversion letters and illegally replaced teachers.

Mashandure was arrested on April 8 following a police report by the CSC.

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