28 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Legislators Demand Dube Prosecution

Photo: Nehanda Radio
PSMAS salaries.

FORMER Premier Services Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) CEO Cuthbert Dube his management team must be prosecuted and banned from running public service organisations, legislators said on Tuesday.

Dube sparked national outrage following revelations he was earning $230,000 per month at PSMAS, an organisation jointly administered by the Ministries of Health, Public Service and Finance.

PSMAS' top eight managers were, between them, gobbling at least US$1 million in basic monthly salaries at a time the organisation was reeling from a US$38 million debt and failing to pay service providers.

Members, most of the poorly paid civil servants, say they were being forced to pay upfront for healthcare because PSMAS was not paying doctors and hospitals.

On Monday, the organisation reacted by letting Dube go for allegedly having reached his retirement age and also relieving the board chairperson of her duties.

But the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care said this was not enough.

In a press statement read in the presence of other members Tuesday morning, committee chair and MDC-T legislator Ruth Labode said the decision retire Dube with possible benefits was not to the best interests of the public.

"The committee recommends that the board and the CEO and the top executive be prosecuted under the section 194 of chapter 9 of the constitution," she said.

Labode added: "We feel as a committee that every board member should be fired and should be blacklisted from ever seating on anybody that has public interest."

She said the challenges being faced by PSMAS members in accessing medical aid were due to PSMAS's inability to pay their suppliers.

"A lot of PSMAS clients go to they are told they can't access the hospital because their organisation is not paying. At the same time the same organisation is paying US$230 000 to one person."

The committee urged the government to order a forensic audit into the PSMAS "funds' handling given it's a public service organisation and the numerous donations to entities like ZIFA which were made by Cuthbert Dube."

The committee also recommended that the future PSMAS board should include a representative from the civil servants and other key stakeholder representatives since they are the people "who are in trouble."

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