Makande Second Grade Magistrate’s Court in Chikwawa on Monday convicted and sentenced Harry Luwemba to seven years in jail for misappropriating money meant for examination fees in the 2016/17 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations.
Luwemba, 49, who was head teacher for Hope Christian Private Secondary School, is said to have embezzled money amounting to K1, 821, 110 after duping the school’s bursar.
Police Prosecutor, Martin Thulu, told the court that the headmaster took advantage of the absence of the school director and swindled the money between March and April, 2017.
“When the Director of the school returned from UK, he became suspicious after visiting Malawi National Examinations Board (MANEB) where he discovered that some names of the students were missing on the list,” Thulu told the court.
“There were also further anomalies on the number of subjects paid by individual students such that the accused trimmed some of the subjects,” said Thulu.
Luwemba, who had since been at large for eight months, was arrested and charged with Theft by a Public Servant, which contravenes Section 286 of the Penal Code.
In his submission, the state witness pleaded with the court for a stiff sentence for accused on grounds that he had committed a serious crime whose maximum sentence attracted 14 years in prison.
The prosecutor also said that the head teacher almost put the future of his students to doom by swindling money meant for examinations.
In his ruling, Second Grade Magistrate, Cedric Chidika concurred with the state, observing that the suspect deserved a meaningful sentence which would go a long way in deterring others from committing similar offences.
“It is only proper that the court should give the accused a stiff custodial sentence given the circumstances in which the offence was committed.
“Instead of playing the role of a guardian in whose custody parents give their children, the accused decided to act otherwise,” observed Chidika.
Chidika, therefore, convicted and sentenced Luwemba to seven years imprisonment with hard labour.
Luwemba comes from Mtopola Village, Traditional Authority Masache in Chikwawa.