DPP seeks 2 years' jail for ex-teacher who stole over $40k
The prosecution has argued for the former head of department (HOD) of English and literature at Woodgrove Secondary School to be jailed for at least two years for misappropriating more than $40,000.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew told a district courtyesterday that Maslinda Zainal, now 46, had abused the trust placed in her and that her offences were “motivated by greed”.
Appointed HOD in 2006, four years after joining the school, Maslinda had kept for herself a portion of the monies students gave to their English teachers for learning materials known as Excel packages.
She was found guilty of two counts of criminal breach of trust on Jan 11.
Her lawyer, Mr Singa Retnam, pleaded for his client to be given a sentence that is not “crushing”, describing Maslinda as an outstanding teacher who had received awards, including one for excellent service in 2011.
As HOD, Maslinda was tasked to collect the money students gave to their English teachers. She also liaised with the bookstore that printed the resource packages.
“The accused was the only one who knew that an excess of monies had been collected from the students – and that what the bookstore was charging was far less than the amounts collected,” deputy public prosecutors Chew and David Koh had said during the trial last month.
She was entrusted with nearly $35,000 in 2016 and more than $36,000 the following year.
However, Maslinda paid Madam Cheng Bee Lian, who ran the school bookshop, about $13,000 in 2016 and $17,000 in 2017, the sums stated in the invoices.
The teacher, who has been suspended by her school, then misappropriated the remaining sum, taking more than $21,000 in 2016 and almost $20,000 in 2017.
Her offences came to light when a subject head at the school, Madam Jacqueline Chan, found discrepancies between the amounts collected by the English department and the sums paid in the bookshop’s invoice.
Maslinda will be sentenced on March 5.