SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: Medical Aid Society Boss Earned $500,000 Monthly

The sacked boss of the Premier Service Medical Aid Society Cuthbert Dube's monthly income was half-a-million dollars, twice what was initially reported.

Dube was forced to retire Monday, amid state media reports that his yearly earnings totalled $6.4 million.

His monthly pay cheque is $100,000 more than American President Barack Obama's annual salary of $400,000.

Press reports indicate that Dube and 14 other PSMAS executives were earning a combined annual wage of $18 million.

"With $18 million we can run Mpilo Hospital efficiently for 18 months," a senior official at the country's third largest health centre told SW Radio Africa Friday.

The Herald newspaper names the 14 executives as Ernest Gwinyai, Enock Chitekedza, Richard Mutasa, Cosmas Mukwesha, Juliana Sabarauta, Mavis Gumbo, Nicholas Munyonga, Augustine Khoza, Raphael Paradzayi, Joice Munyoro, Getrude Tsiga, Barbara Melusi, Fungai Nyamuzinga and Thomas Hama.

Their salaries were approved by the PSMAS board chaired by Meisie Namasasu, who has since been dismissed.

An executive at the indebted society has announced that executive salaries will be slashed, with the chief executive's salary now pegged at $60,000 a month - which is still almost double the American President's salary.

The executive also said they have reduced the company's debt to medical service providers from $38 million to $13.9 million.

Most service providers have reportedly blacklisted PSMAS, with health institutions demanding cash payments from the society's members.

As fresh details continue to emerge about the rot at these quasi-state institutions, observers doubt that the current revelations in the public media are driven by a genuine desire by the ZANU PF government to crack down on corruption.

"The salaries and the gross maladministration at parastatals, that the State media are reporting, have been revealed by the private media before, and ZANU PF has not taken action," former journalist Kumbirai Mafunda told SW Radio Africa Friday.

"Anomalies such as the lack of proper corporate governance at these State-controlled institutions are clearly raised as concerns in the Comptroller-General's 2011 audit report.

"So I struggle to believe that those in the public media and the government have discovered these things and are genuinely cracking down on corruption. They knew all along," Mafunda added.

Many political observers believe that on-going public media crusade is just ZANU PF factionalism playing itself out in the public domain.

Emmerson Mnangagwa and Joice Mujuru lead ZANU PF's two factions, and Information Minister Jonathan Moyo who presides over the State media, belongs to the Mnangagwa camp.

"A closer look at what's going on shows that the ZANU PF faction controls the State media and is stage-managing the publicity.

"So the revelations are one way or another serving the interests of a faction and whether or not the State media will sustain them will depend on the tenure and authority of the faction that controls the media," Mafunda said.

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