Financial irregularities uncovered at Forest High after disappearance of R200k
News / 11 June 2019, 10:32am / Siphumelele Khumalo
The Gauteng Education Department has launched an investigation into the disappearance of R222 000 from Forest High School's bank account.
This is after school management failed to account for the missing funds, leading to concerned school governing body (SGB) members to approach the department for intervention.
An SGB member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the money that was unaccounted for was for school fees, registration and any “other cash-related matter the school kids paid for”.
An audit report, which The Star has seen, shows that cash amounting to R369 273 was received through the window desk and recorded in the cash receipt books between January and June 2017.
However, this amount doesn't correspond with the bank statement, which shows that only R157 785 was deposited into the school's bank account.
“Income to the value of R221488 cannot be traced as deposited or diverted to petty cash,” reads the audit report in part.
The report further pointed to “non- compliance with the Public Finance Management Act and the SA Schools Act regulations”, stating that “all cash received must be recorded on an official, pre-printed letterhead, receipt books with continued numbering sequence”.
“All cash received must be verified and reconciled with the actual receipt before banking. The school management team must appoint a second person to verify cash before banking,” it stated.
But it appears there were irregularities with regards to how school funds were handled and the person who had been in charge of handling school funds was a financial clerk who resigned after the report was released.
The woman, who is school principal Mark Peterson's sister-in-law, has since died.
SGB members claim her appointment was also irregular as proper procedures were not followed.
A source within the SGB accused the department for stalling as the matter was reported in 2017.
“Since October I have been calling the department, enquiring, but still nothing to date,” she said.
Current SGB chairperson Abraham Tshabalala, who was appointed early this year, said: “The department has taken all the books and the matter is being handled by forensics. We still have not received an outcome."
Peterson refused to comment.
Education Department spokesperson Steve Mabona said the matter was being handled at "head office", and the outcome would be communicated in due course.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Mwela, a learner accused of stabbing to death a schoolmate at the Turffontein school, was granted R5000 bail at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Monday.