Ex-principal denies stealing $130,000

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 12:00am

A retired primary school principal yesterday denied conspiring with suppliers to inflate invoices to cheat the school of about $130,000.

So Chi-cheong, 64, who was the principal of the Sam Shui Natives' Association School in Tai Po, denied three counts of conspiring to accept advantages, two of conspiracy to use a document with intent to deceive, one of fraud and one alternative charge of conspiracy to use a document with intent to deceive.

Prosecutor Patrick Loftus told District Court judge Peter Line that So had asked a employee of uniforms supplier Tai Tung Hong to supply stationery to the school between September 1, 1998 and September 30, 2002, when he retired. The employee obtained the items from the school's stationery supplier and marked up the prices, Mr Loftus said. So then arranged payment to Tai Tung Hong.

So told four school janitors to make dresses for a school function, but the Tai Tung Hong employee issued 25 invoices from the firm totalling $55,552, for supplying them.

Mr Loftus said So also conspired with the owner of another stationery supplier, Tai Hing, to issue four bogus cash memos, amounting to $55,188, between January 1, 1999, and 30 September, 2002. So further conspired with an operator of window supplier Kwong Fai Aluminium Engineering to add $10,000 to the firm's $36,300 bill, receiving $5,000 in return, the prosecutor said. Following this, the principal provided the window firm operator with more work, for which they added $3,000 to the $15,000 bill, Mr Loftus said.

In September 2001, So falsely represented to the school that Kam Luen Decoration Works had painted seven classroom doors, and pocketed $1,900, the court heard. The hearing continues today.


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