Former Woodgrove Secondary School HOD misappropriated over $40k in student funds


Lean Jinghui | January 13, 2021, 06:10 PM

A former HOD from Woodgrove Secondary School has been convicted of misappropriating more than $40k of funds from her students.

Maslinda Zainal, 46, joined the school in 2002, and served as HOD of English and Literature from 2006 to 2017.

On Jan. 11, she was charged with two counts of criminal breach of trust as a public servant.

"Educator of significant experience"

According to court documents, she was "an educator of significant experience".

She had been in charge of informing teachers on how much to collect for learning materials.

Said Prosecutors David Koh and Stephanie Chew,

In her capacity as HOD, she oversaw the collection of student monies by the teachers in the English department for resource packages and liaised with the bookstore that printed the resource packages.

Conscientious decision

When Maslinda became aware that an excess of monies was being collected, she told no one. The excess came about as the bookstore printing the packages was charging far less than what was being collected.

In 2016, Maslinda misappropriated a sum of $21,627.40, and was found to misappropriate another sum of $19,009.30 in 2017.

Maslinda was eventually outed when the school's lower secondary head, Jacqueline Chan, first spoke to the bookstore owner, and learnt that Maslinda had explicitly informed the owner not to submit any invoices if enquired. However, the bookstore owner did, and the discrepancy was discovered.  

"Did not invest or buy anything lavish"

While Maslinda admitted to using the money on personal expenses like food, she clarified that she did not give the money to anyone, nor invest or buy anything lavish.

The court deemed it as a clear case of misappropriation as Maslinda had still "set aside the money entrusted to her for a wrongful use".

According to The New Paper, MOE has since commented on the matter.

"MOE takes a serious view of staff misconduct and will not hesitate to take disciplinary action against those who fail to adhere to our standards of conduct and discipline, including dismissal from service."

Maslinda will be sentenced on Feb. 24.

Image via