2024-07-12

Head teacher jailed to 6 years for seizure of property

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The First Grade Magistrate’s Court in Nkhata Bay District has convicted and sentenced Hannock Kamanga 36, of Kapalapata Village Traditional Authority Timbiri, the former head teacher for Mtazi Primary School in the district to 6 years imprisonment with hard labour and ordered the seizure of his personal property for squandering government money amounting to K11, 000, 000.00 (Eleven Million Malawi Kwacha) meant for school project.

The court heard through state prosecutor Imed Isaac that in 2021 government entrusted Kamanga with project funds amounting to K17, 000, 000.00 (Seventeen Million Malawi Kwacha) for construction of head a teacher’s house at the school.

Kamanga was tasked to play a leading role in managing the funds at all levels apart from the role of the monitoring team at the district level.

The court further heard that out of the total sum of money deposited into a bank account, only K500, 000.00 (Five hundred thousand kwacha) was properly used while the rest of the cash was looted. Kamanga managed to maneuver through monitoring system by forging stamps, other authorisation documents and signatures for three officials that helped him to easily access bank services.

Kamanga was brought to Nkhata Bay Police Station on September 16, 2022 after he failed to account for all transactions he made from the bank. Police charged him with four counts; forgery of stamps, forgery of official documents, altering false documents and theft by public servant contrary to sections 359 (a), 358, 360 and 283 (1) of the Penal Code respectively.

In court on October 21, 2022, Kamanaga pleaded guilty to all charges that prompted the court to convict him accordingly.

In submissions, prosecutor Imed asked for a stiff penalty saying the act displayed by the civil servant has negative effects not only to the school, but also the nation as a whole. Imed further said the house would have benefited both the convict as well as other teachers who would come after him. Imed concluded that organised crimes such as this attract a real deterrent punishment to other civil servants with similar evil minds.

In mitigation, Kamanga pleaded for leniency saying that he has a huge family responsibilities as he has a two months old baby. He also said he has a health problem involving his back saying if he is sent in prison it will do more harm to his health.

Magistrate Ezekiel Kamtikana when passing sentence, concurred with the state observing that offences committed by officials that are entrusted by the government on big projects like this affects development and growth of the society. Kamtikana further said the court cannot be lenient with civil servants who squander public money.

The magistrate therefore ordered Kamanga to serve 2 years, 3 years, 3 years and 6 years jail terms for the first, second, third and fourth counts respectively. However, he said the sentences should run concurrently meaning that the convict will only serve 6 years jail term.

The magistrate further ordered the seizure of the convict’s property so that the school house should still be completed.

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