CUTHBERT Dube's stint as group chief executive officer of Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) finally came to an end last month although he is challenging the move, The Standard heard yesterday.
After his retirement by the PSMAS board, Dube had continued to report for duty and occupying his office, sparking speculation over the goings-on at the institution.
Dube has been at the helm of PSMAS since 1992. He joined the group as internal auditor in 1986.
Cosmas Mukwesha, PSMAS group legal secretary and secretary to the dissolved board told The Standard that Dube had gone on a pre-retirement leave which ended on February 28.
"As far as the board is concerned he [Dube] effectively retired at the end of February," he said.
Mukwesha said Dube and his lawyer Jonathan Samkange had a different interpretation of what was obtaining and wrote to PSMAS insisting that Dube was still the group chief executive officer.
"He has communicated to the board. I received that communication from the lawyer," he said.
Dube is in the eye of a storm following revelations that he was earning over US$500 000 monthly in salary plus allowances at a time the society was failing to pay service providers.
This resulted in members being turned away from hospitals.
Samkange of Venturas and Samkange law firm insisted his client was still part of the executives at PSMAS.
"He is still there. He is the chief executive officer but on leave. PSMAS said he had accrued too many leave days and he had to take some," Samkange said.
In January, PSMAS board announced that it was retiring Dube alongside board chairperson Meisie Makeletso Namasasu.
The remaining board later dissolved itself after it emerged that they had also benefitted from the gravy train with some pocketing nearly US$300 000 annually in sitting allowances.
While the former PSMAS board said Dube had been retired, the government insisted he had been fired after his abnormal salary got into the public domain.
Dube's hefty salary together with those of parastatals such as ZBC drew the ire of ordinary people who felt that the executives were living large at a time the majority people in the country were finding it hard to put food on the table.
Last week Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa announced that cabinet had set the salary ceiling for chief executive officers of parastatals and public institutions including PSMAS at US$6 000.
But Dube's lawyer, Samkange said PSMAS was a private limited company where government had no shareholding.
"The only interest government has in PSMAS is through the Public Service Commission where some of the subscribers are civil servants. End of story," Samkange said.
"I know they won't do that [cutting Dube's salary]."
Samkange said Chinamasa must be honest and concentrate on the real issues where chief executive officers were bleeding loss-making parastatals by drawing fat salaries.
Samkange said Chinamasa could have been misled into believing that PSMAS was a parastatal.
Under Dube's leadership, PSMAS was transformed from being a solely medical aid society for government employees to accommodate subscribers from the private sector.
Dube chaired the boards of hospitals and foreign units under PSMAS wings.