School funds ‘misused’

2018-04-03 06:01

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Evidence allegedly implicating a former principal of Pinelands Primary School in the misuse of the school’s money during his term has been reportedly found.

The Western Cape Education Department has revealed that thorough investigations, including a forensic investigation, were performed following the allegations of financial misconduct took place at the school last year.

Spokesperson for the provincial education department, Paddy Attwell, says: “We can confirm that the department found evidence of alleged non-compliance or irregularity, but not fraud, corruption or theft.

“The investigation found that the educator allegedly received benefits from the school governing body, among other findings, without the authorisation of the department, as required by the South African Schools Act.”

He says the educator retired before facing disciplinary action.

“Our head of department sought legal advice on whether he could refuse to allow retirement. Our legal advice was that the educator concerned had a right to retire and that the department had no legal basis to challenge this.”

Attwell says the department has no legal powers to deduct the funds concerned from the educator’s pension and they cannot reveal more details of this case.

He says the school governing body (SGB) has been kept informed about the proceedings of the investigation.

Accusations have arisen which implicate the former school employee of misusing hundreds of thousands of rand before taking early retirement early this year.

The accusations centre around the alleged use of school funds to pay for a holiday at a resort, take out a golf club membership, procure IT equipment and pay staff loans, including a loan for himself, among others.

By the time the accused retired, it is understood that the SGB had started lodging complaints and calling for investigations.

The SGB could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.

When People’s Post enquired at the school, a school secretary said the school would not comment on the matter and refused to divulge the contact details of both the school principal and the accused, former employee.

She also refused to assist with the contact details of the SGB.

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