3 February 2014

Zimbabwe: Shock Over Dube's 20 Percent PSMI Stake

Former Premier Service Medical Aid Society chief executive officer Dr Cuthbert Dube could own as much as 20 percent of a key subsidiary of the enterprise, an official close to the firm has revealed.

This came as the PSMAS board appointed experienced business consultant Mr Luxon Zembe the new chair, and Dr Farai Fredrick Muchena the acting chief executive officer. Dr Muchena is the Premier Service Medical Investments managing director.

Mr Zembe takes over from Mrs Meisie Namasasu, who was removed from the post following revelations of mega salaries being paid to Dr Dube and other senior managers at PSMAS.

Dr Dube was retired from the post last week. Information reaching The Herald also indicates board member, Mr George Chabururuka, had tendered his resignation. Mr Chabururuka is finance and administration director at the Higher Education Ministry.

The board is understood to be investigating how Dr Dube allegedly came to own 20 percent of PSMI, which is the PSMAS investment arm. The board would like to know how such a huge stake fell into the hands of one employee and whether the equity was paid for or was part of his "incentives package".

It is understood that Mr Zembe's appointment to chair the board was influenced by this issue.

Mr Newton Mhlanga had been acting chair since Mrs Namasasu was relieved of her duties, but he did not get the substantive appointment because there is a possibility that he may have been aware of, or possibly involved in, Dr Dube's acquisition of 20 percent of PSMI.

"When the board met Dr Dube just before retiring him, Dr Dube said they could fire him as CEO of the holding company PSMAS, but he would remain a shareholder of the subsidiary PSMI.

"Preliminary investigations indicate that the shareholding was acquired a few years ago, before Namasasu was chair. It most likely happened when Mhlanga or someone else was board chair," the official said.

Mr Mhlanga previously served as board chair before Mrs Namasasu's time.

The official said the board was concerned with the entire transaction and how it happened without a full board resolution.

Efforts to get clarification from the concerned characters were fruitless last night. However, the official said the board resolved to appoint Mr Zembe as board chair and Dr Muchena as acting CEO to both bring in a fresh perspective and to ensure stability at PSMAS.

A statement from the board yesterday read, "The board of PSMAS is pleased to announce and inform its members, service providers, key stakeholders and the public in general that, at its duly constituted board meeting of 31 January 2014, it unanimously elected Mr Luxon Zembe, an independent non-executive director, to be the PSMAS substantive chairman with immediate effect."

Mr Zembe was appointed to the PSMAS board in 2012.

He is chair of CBZ Holdings and a board member of Schweppes Zimbabwe Ltd. Mr Zembe is a past president and chairman of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, and has or is associated with several other boards, including the Zimbabwe Institute of Management, the National Manpower Advisory Council, and the Institute of Directors.

He currently chairs the National Corporate Governance Code Committee responsible for boards and directors duties and responsibilities.

Mr Zembe was involved in crafting the Code of Corporate Governance for Parastatals and State Enterprises, which was adopted and approved by cabinet.

The PSMAS board pledged to address past mistakes that affected the firm.

"The board would like, once again, to assure its members and all the stakeholders that mistakes made in the past are being dealt with expeditiously and decisively in line with the PSMAS constitution and the laws of Zimbabwe," the statement said.

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