Two students of Seeta Hill College in Mukono municipality have pinned their former head teacher, Samuel Ayeri for embezzling their tuition fees. The two students, Muhammad Salim and Max Mayanja were testifying as prosecution witnesses Thursday before the Mukono Grade I Magistrate, Maureen Mukoya where Ayeri is battling a string of charges.
Ayeri is accused of forging academic documents with the intent to fraudulently secure a job at the school, stealing up to Shillings 10.7 million from the school, and issuing forged receipts for the same between November 30, 2020, and January 25, 2021. While testifying before the court, Muhammad Salim explained that on March 7th, 2020, the school bursar he only identified as Agnes sent him home for school fees.
According to Salim, he traveled home on March 8 after receiving a pass out. He went home and his auntie sent him Shillings 790,000 on his phone number but when he got to town the banks were closed. According to Salim, he decided to return to school but didn’t find the bursar. He explained that he found the head teacher and explained to him what had happened.
Salim told the court that Ayeri asked him to leave the money with him and pick up his receipt after two days. He explained that when he returned as agreed to pick up the receipt, Ayeri only told him that he had passed on the money to the bursar. According to Salim, as time went by, the deputy head teacher and bursar summoned him to the office and inquired why he hadn’t completed the fees despite being sent home to collect the money.
“I told them I paid Shillings 790,000 in cash to the head teacher who said he had given the money to her (bursar),” he said. He explained that the two decided to discontinue him on grounds that he had not paid the tuition. According to Salim, he kept asking the head teacher for his receipts until the first lockdown in 2020 was announced.
He explained that when the government reopened school, he reported on January 26, 2021, but midway into the term he was told he still had a pending balance from the previous term prompting him to go back to the head teacher. Ayeri reportedly requested the bursar to clear Salim with promises of paying the money he received from the student but was arrested after some time for the theft of school funds.
Another student, Max Mayanja also told the court that in October 2020, he gave Ayeri Shillings 500,000 in his office for his school fees with assurances that he would give the money to the bursar. He however says that towards the third term exams, the deputy teacher dismissed him from school with a school fees demand note of Shillings 880,000 instead of a balance of Shillings 380,000 he owed the school.
According to Mayanja, he approached the accused who looked at his demand note and crossed out the money, and indicated the actual balance of Shillings 380,000. Mayanja told the court that he went home and returned with Shillings 100,000 from the balance of 380,000 demanded by the school.
He explained that after some time, the deputy head teacher summoned him and informed him that he still owed the school money, which he did not recognize. According to Mayanja, he explained to the deputy head teacher that he had given the accused Shillings 500,000. He was made to record a statement explaining what happened. After some time, he was called to Seeta police station where the school director Joseph Ntayi had filed a case against the accused to record a statement.
Ntayi was prompted to involve the police after recording a series of complaints from parents about the head teacher’s conduct and anomalies detected by the bursar in the school receipts and expenses leading to his arrest on August 8, 2021, and subsequent trial on charges of forgery and uttering false documents. He was granted bail on August 26, 2022. However, he opened up a WhatsApp group where he started intimidating prosecution witnesses. The state attorney Irene Nambozo asked the court to cancel his bail leading to his re-arrest last month.