Home » Governance » Psmas Interim Committee Starts Work

The six-member interim committee appointed by Government at the Premier Service Medical Aid Society has started work, with its top priority being to carry out an audit to bring to book culprits who might have abused funds.

The committee has other terms of reference which are related to unearthing the mismanagement and corruption that allegedly took place at the medical aid society made up mainly of civil servants.

Sources said the committee would look at the remuneration structure at the PSMAS to find out who earned what and if the salaries and perks received by the management and workers were justified.

Management at the medical aid society gobbled nearly US$1 million per month at a time they were failing to pay debts to service providers.

The top earner at the society was then chief executive Dr Cuthbert Dube who took home US$500 000 per month in salaries and allowances.

The interim committee is also expected to look at how much the medical aid society was collecting and what it was paying to service providers in an attempt to account for the difference and establish how much the society lost.

Issues of corporate governance, especially the financial and administrative procedures which had virtually collapsed at the medical aid society, would also be under spotlight. Many had questioned the relationship between PSMAS and its subsidiary Premier Service Medical Investments where Dr Dube was the chairperson of the board and also led boards of 17 other subsidiaries of PSMI.

The interim committee would look at how such a relationship was being managed, especially considering that there was a lot of criticism of how Dr Dube was being paid sitting allowances by all the boards whose companies were related to PSMAS.

The interim committee replaced the PSMAS board which disbanded itself after allegations of mismanagement at the medical society surfaced and one of its major task will be to organise an annual general meeting.

The AGM would be critical in restoring order at the medical aid society, with members being given an opportunity to choose those they want to sit on the board.

Another term of reference for the committee would be to carry out a critical review of the PSMAS constitution and rules guiding membership.

Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa yesterday confirmed that the interim committee had started work, but referred questions to its chairperson Dr Gibson Mhlanga who is the principal director for curative services in the ministry.

“They have already started work, but talk to Dr Mhlanga, he is the chair of the committee,” he said.

Dr Mhlanga could not be reached for comment yesterday, but sources said the committee had a lot at its hands to bring the medical aid society to sanity.

The other five members of the team are director fiscal policy in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Mr Eria Hamandishe, deputy director Legal Services in the Office of the President and Cabinet Mr Nelson Charumbira, director Industrial relations in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Clemence Vusani, general manager for Conditions of Service in the Civil Service Commission Mr L Dube and Public Service Association president Ms Cecilia Alexander.

“The team is expected to guide PSMAS operations and ensure the society moves in the shortest possible time from its current defaulting society status,” said a source.

PSMAS hit the headlines at the beginning of the year over issues of mega salaries paid to its top executives against a huge debt which had accumulated to over US$38 million as of December 2013.

The debt, the majority of which was due for service providers, made it difficult for members to access healthcare services over non-payment.

This scenario forced the PSMAS board to retire Dr Dube, whose contract had just been renewed for the next 10 years.

Subsequently, the board of directors dissolved itself to pave way for licensing of the society.

It is at this stage that Government intervened and set up an interim committee as stipulated by the regulations governing medical aid society’s in Zimbabwe.

This latest development has been welcomed by the majority of PSMAS members and stakeholders as positive in bringing back sanity at the medical aid society.

Source : The Herald