Former Premier Services Medical Aid Society chief executive Cuthbert Dube was paid US$6.4 million last year which was more than the entire budget of the Ministry of Tourism for 2014. The Ministry requested US$73.2 million but was only allocated US$6.2 million.
According to The Herald, Dube was paid double the US$230 000 initially reported plus a bonus of over US$1 million bringing his total earnings to US$6.4 million.
While it would appear that Dube was milking off poor civil servants contributions, his salary was actually coming from the government because it contributed 80 of the subscriptions with members paying only 20 percent.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa even went a step further when he told Parliament that either way, the money came from the government.
What is puzzling is that the board chairperson Meisie Namasasu was the director for implementation and control of expenditure in the Ministry of Finance.
Below is the question and answer session regarding PSMAS on Wednesday, 29 January.
MS. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Health. I would like to know if the ministry has any plans to try and restore confidence among subscribers of one of the biggest medical aid societies in Zimbabwe. This is in relation to whether or not they can confidently feel that their hard-earned subscriptions are put to good use and it is in consideration of the sorry state of some of the facilities such as West End Clinic. I went there last week and the benches in the lobby are totally worn out. I would like to know if the ministry is moving to restore our confidence as public subscribers because it is an important society and the biggest in the country.
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (DR.PARIRENYATWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the hon. member for that very important and pertinent question. It is true that one of the medical aid companies in this country has shown that it is at its top in terms of very huge, unacceptably high salaries. At the same time, the monies they are using as salaries are largely coming from poor contributors, the civil servants’ hard-earned money where most of them are earning very little money. They make subscriptions and Government subscribes 80% for them, either way, it is government.
Your contribution will be 20% and 80% comes from Government. That is the money which goes to this particular medical aid society. It is shocking and unacceptable that this has happened. However, what I want to assure you as hon. members and as a country is that, as a ministry we have looked at what our mandate is regarding this matter.
We have then thoroughly defined the way we should go. We are systematically going through that issue very quickly, urgently and surgically to the extent that we are urging our people to continue paying and feeling that they can benefit from this particular medical aid. Little has been done now, but I can assure you that we are doing so much.
Perhaps at this point in time, it may compromise some of our investigations that we are doing but we will be in a position to give you the way forward when we have gone through all the investigations that are being carried out thoroughly.
We saw the board of this particular medical aid a few days ago and after that, they dismissed their Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Perhaps, we would like to go further and see what else can be done. Therefore, we are surgically looking at this issue and I can assure you hon. member, Hon. Speaker Sir, that as a country, as a ministry, we will be able to put this issue to rest in a way that satisfies, not only members of this particular medical aid society but in a way that is good for this country of Zimbabwe.
MR. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Health and Child Care for having articulated what is happening in terms of the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) scandal. I am glad that he has taken responsibility of that and is investigating. However, hon. minister, you met the board whose role is oversight. The CEO was fired or retired, but how do you leave the board which then authorised the CEO and management to be paid that much? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, Hear] – You cannot say you have killed – the Americans say, “you cannot say you have killed the Sheriff when his deputy is alive,” because the same policies will prevail. What confidence do we have that the very same board will not appoint a CEO who will be paid US$500 000? Thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear,Hear.]-
DR. PARIRENYATWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to appreciate the follow up analysis – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]–
MR. SPEAKER: Order, order.
DR. PARIRENYATWA: I would like to appreciate the follow up analysis that has been given by the hon. member. It is true that the board fired the Chief Executive Officer, but clearly to us, that is their own in-house arrangement. We, as Government, have not come up with the direction we are going to take. I can assure you, we are taking a direction that will satisfy the Zimbabwean population, the people who contribute and the members of this society. As far as we are concerned, the arrangement they did is their own in-house and we have not yet acted to the satisfaction of what we want to do. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
MS. ZINDI: I just want to find out whether the minister penned his signature in terms of approval to such high salaries of the CEO of PSMAS together with the other 13 managers?
DR. PARIRENYATWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Clearly, we are not the ones who pay. Let me just say that we came in as Government in September/October and looked at various issues to include that of the medical society industry. We are critiquing every area including what the medical aid societies are asking as contributions and the conflict of interest that will be within their own industry. In terms of payment, the board is mandated to look at that wholesome package. So far, Government has looked into those salaries and came up with a position which has not yet been revealed to the public. It is part of the issues we are working on in order to evade any fear that, any board that comes in will be abhorrent. It will be under the close eye and observation of the Government. As far as salaries are concerned we are not the direct paymaster to them. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.