By Elizabeth Mainga MANA

Mangochi Second Grade Magistrate’s Court has convicted and sentenced 44-year-old Headteacher for Fatima Private Primary School, Paul Kumwenda, to three years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL), for swindling Primary School Leaving Certificate Examination (PSLCE) fees for 22 Standard Eight learners.

The court heard through State Prosecutor, lnspector Shadreck Wisiki that during the month of December 2022, Kumwenda was instructed by the Director of the school to collect funds from the 22 candidates and thereafter dispatch it to Malawi National Examinations Board (MANEB).

The convict collected K120, 000 cash but did not dispatch it to MANEB which led to the candidates failing to sit for this year’s PSLCE examinations.

Wisiki added that on May 9, 2023, the school’s Director discovered that the convict failed to remit the collected funds to MANEB.

This came to light when the Director contacted the board to request examination identity cards and numbers for the candidates.

Kumwenda, who pleaded guilty, asked the court for leniency citing that he needed to help Form Two students who are about to sit for this year’s Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) examinations.

In his submission, Wisiki reminded the court that the convict destroyed the future of the 22 candidates hence prayed for a custodial sentence.

Passing judgement on Friday, Magistrate Baxter Chikalimba condemned Kumwenda’s behavior saying it has potential to retard education in the country.

“His act is unfortunate as it will affect the mind of the learners who will have to wait for next year to sit for examinations. The court will not tolerate such savagely behavior. As such, I am sentencing you to three years IHL,” said Chikalimba.

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