Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Letter Sent to the Sudan Tribune - 19th April 2011

The following message was sent to the Sudan Tribune over the corruption in the school and the hijacking of the Board of Trustees on 19th April 2011:

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you to bring to your attention to a major fraud, theft and corruption at Unity High School in Khartoum. In view of the President's current focus on anti-corruption I think it is important that the information relating to Unity High School is brought to your attention.

All of the following allegations can be supported by documentary evidence. This evidence is already in the hands of The Ministry of Education.

Unity High School is owned by it's own Board of Trustees which was set up by the founder of the school in 1945: Bishop Gwynne.

By 1989 there was uncertainty over who the Trustees were and who legally owned the school. There was a concerted effort made over a number of years to prove that the school was owned by the Episcopal Church. This proved not to be the case. The full board of Trustees could not be located - this caused problems in terms of future building plans due to the need for registration of documents at the Land Registry and for the changing of the school Constitution which was the responsibility of the Board of Trustees.

In 1995 a letter appeared purporting to nominate 5 people to the Board of Trustees. The letter is hand written, witnessed by the then Principal, David Treagust and also it seems an ex-Trustee, Charles Bonsall and stamped with the Unity High School rubber stamp. This letter appears to be a forgery. It certainly carries no legal authority at all (already established by a lawyer). The new Trustees were essentially the same people that were then and still are the School Council. This removed the check and balance system from the school. All power and ownership of the school was now in the hands of the Council and the role of the Trustees was marginalised and almost entirely written out of the Constitution. 

There have been many challenges to this Trustee appointment in 1995 - all of them ignored and covered up. Since that time, significant amounts of money have flooded out of the school in the form of 'donations' to the members of the Council (some requested by Bishop Kondo on behalf of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, in the full knowledge that this is against the school's Trust Deed). Some of these so-called Councillors are also claiming to be Trustees of the school. Significant fraud relating to Social Insurance has gone on over a considerable number of years (as I write this, the Tax Office are in the Directors office making demands for explanations over clearly forged documents). Theft by employees has been ignored due to their involvement with the church and to avoid a scandal. The Bishop of Khartoum - the Chairman of the Trustees and the School Council (a Trustee only in view of the theft of the school due to the forged letter of 1995) has been the recipient of hundreds of thousands of SDG's over the years. Only a month ago, he received 80,000SDG for 'the needs of the Diocese'. There are no records of these sums over the years being spent on the Diocese. Teachers here are being cheated of their gratuities and social insurance money when they leave. Signatures on all manner of documents are routinely forged - including the contracts recently submitted to the Tax Office. 

At present Unity has the best exam and educational record of any school in Sudan, yet the Principal is being replaced (her contract terminated in spite of the fact that this is not possible in Sudanese law) to bring in someone who has no idea how to run the school at all (admitted by almost everyone - the staff, Director, the Council, Vice Principal). It seems that the current Principal's efforts to stem the flow of money out of the school to various churches and individuals who are used to taking large sums of money out of the school is not appreciated. The new appointee will be too busy with trying to do her job to notice the money flooding out of the school once more.

All of the allegations mentioned here and more, can be substantiated with documented evidence. We at Unity wish to see the thieves who have stolen this school removed. The Ministry of Education it is hoped will act very soon. Perhaps they are waiting for the school to collapse so that they can walk in and take it (they have always held off from doing so previously due to their belief that the school was owned by the Church - they now know it is not). The staff of this school wish to see this school saved from the people who have stolen it and continue to steal from it and the taking of it by the Ministry once it collapses. We wish to see this school continue for the sake of the students in our charge. They deserve better than this.

I am happy to talk to you further about this issue and show you the evidence. 

This is a major case of fraud, theft, forgery and  corruption spanning a considerable number of years and all of us at the school who know of this situation wish it to be stopped.
Yours,

The Staff of Unity High School

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