Trial date set for Glenwood fraud principal
Durban - Former Glenwood High School principal, Trevor Kershaw, is expected to stand trial next year for allegedly defrauding, alternatively stealing from, the school.
Kershaw appeared briefly in the Durban Commercial Crime Court on Wednesday, where the court heard his attorney, Carl van der Merwe, intended, possibly instructing senior, advocates Christo van Schalkwyk and Gideon Scheltema for the 18-day trial set down for August.
It is alleged that Kershaw, who submitted his resignation in December, made 1 623 false claims for refunds totalling just more than R5.2 million.
Kershaw has not yet pleaded. But, outside court, he has previously denied any wrongdoing.
Glenwood High School, its governing body, and the Gibson House Boarding Establishment are listed as the complainants.
According to the charge sheet, the school’s boarding house, Gibson House, operates as its own legal entity, with its own bank account. But its finances are entwined with that of the school, and are controlled and managed by the same individuals.
Kershaw was employed as the school’s headmaster from 1999 until December last year, and while he was paid by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, his salary package was supplemented by additional allowances from the school.
“Investigations were launched following concerns about the legitimacy of claims Kershaw had made to the school, which were paid out to him, either in cash or as electronic funds transfers (EFTs), as part of his remuneration package, or as reimbursal for school expenditure he incurred from his own funds, allegedly on behalf of the school,” the charge sheet reads.
These investigations apparently revealed that Kershaw submitted 1 623 transactions for refunds totalling more than R5.2m. Among these transactions, Kershaw allegedly claimed R971 500 payable to himself and another related party through 107 “home-made” invoices.
“The claims Kershaw made are based on inappropriate supporting documentation, representing either credit card Speedpoint slips or credit card bank statements, unsupported claims, duplicated claims and manipulated vouchers.”
In the main fraud count, it is alleged that Kershaw caused prejudice or potential prejudice to the complainants and/or their employees in the amount of about R370 000 over a 37-month period.
The alternative to this fraud count is theft, in that during August 2012, Kershaw intentionally stole about R370 000 and/or a Jeep Patriot of the same value.
Earlier this year, the National Director of Public Prosecutions made an application in the Pietermaritzburg High Court to restrain some of Kershaw’s property - the proceeds of the sale of his Westville home, a Jeep Patriot and the R100 000 he paid for bail.
On Wednesday, prosecutor Wendy O’Brien said they were ready to proceed to trial, and required about 15 days.
But Van der Merwe said at this stage he was not ready for trial, because he had more than 8 000 documents to peruse, but would be ready by August.
He indicated that counsel would also be instructed, but would have to confirm finances before then.
The matter was adjourned until February for the defence to confirm instructions on merit and finance.
The trial is set down from August 16 to September 8.