8 February 2014

Zimbabwe: It Never Rains, but Pours for Ex-PSMAS Chair Namasasu

Photo: Nehanda Radio
PSMAS salaries.

The Civil Service Commission has suspended sacked PSMAS board chairperson Mrs Meisie Makeletso Namasasu from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development where she was a director over her involvement in the hefty salaries of top executives at the society.

Mrs Namasasu, who was sacked by the PSMAS board last week, was Director for Implementation and Control of Expenditure Unit in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

Impeccable sources told The Herald yesterday that Mrs Namasasu had since stopped reporting for duty.

"It is true she was suspended, but I am not really sure of when exactly, but it must have been last week because we have not seen her, the whole of this week," said a source at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

"What worsened the situation for her is that she was in charge of expenditure control at the ministry, so naturally, she should have carried that responsibility to PSMAS."

Efforts to get a comment from CSC chairperson Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwah and Mrs Namasasu were fruitless.

Mrs Namasasu was relieved of her duties when it emerged that the former chief executive officer, Dr Cuthbert Dube, was earning a basic monthly salary of US$230 000.

Indications are that the package was agreed on by Dr Dube and Mrs Namasasu as per "traditional" practice at the society.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has since initiated the process to deal with culprits at PSMAS and were following the necessary steps as outlined in Statutory Instrument 330 of 2000 concerning regulation of medical aid societies.

It was recently revealed that Dr Dube was grossing over US$500 000 a month, with the PSMAS annual wage bill for its 15 top executives for 2013 coming to a whopping US$18,6 million with Dube, at US$6,4million, accounting for more than a third of this total.

This was despite PSMAS owing service providers US$38 million last year, which has since been reduced to US$13 million.

Meanwhile, the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) has expressed concern over the abuse of membership contributions at PSMAS in the wake of reports of mismanagement and corruption at the society, writes Nyemudzai Kakore.

CWGH director Mr Itai Rusike said it was worrisome that most civil servants were failing to receive medical care while PSMAS officials were awarding themselves hefty salaries and benefits.

"The serious abuse of funds and awarding of astronomical benefits to PSMAS top executives at a time when Zimbabwe's economy is struggling is greatly prejudicing contributors who struggle each month to pay their medical insurance," he said in a statement.

"The CWGH is deeply concerned about this situation especially as PSMAS is failing to meet its obligations on behalf of its membership to service providers."

Mr Rusike said the decision to relieve Dr Dube of his duties was commendable and a full investigation into the matter would be important.

"The full board of PSMAS must be relieved of its duties to allow for a full probe into the medical aid society's operations. This probe should ensure that the salaries of the other top executives are reasonable," he said.

He urged the Ministry of Health and Child Care as the regulator of medical aid societies to tighten its monitoring mechanisms of the operations of all medical aid societies.

Mr Rusike urged the Government to probe operations of all medical aid societies to protect the interests of subscribers.

CWGH is a network of civic and community-based organisations who aim to collectively enhance community participation in health in Zimbabwe.

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