Deputy Justice Minister Fortune Chasi yesterday dodged answering questions about whether any crime had been committed in the Premier Services Medical Aid Society saga in which the chief executive Cuthbert Dube was reported to be earning nearly US$500 000 a month yet board members, Luxon Zembe and George Charamba professed they did not know about salaries.
Chasi said he could not comment on newspaper reports about the case because their authenticity and veracity could not be established. Besides, the matter fell under the Ministry of Health so he did not want to jump the gun.
Question and answer in Parliament:
DR. LABODE: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question goes to the Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. The papers recently, the Herald for one, quoted Luxon Zembe, the new Chairman of PSMAS as saying, even though he chaired the Committee on Finance, he did not know about the salaries that were spoken about. Also, in the Daily News today, George Charamba says, there was a board within a board. Minister, I think there is a crime here which was committed. Are our hands tied as Government? That is my question.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. CHASI): Thank you Mr. Speaker. It is very difficult to comment on some of the stories that are in the press because their authenticity and veracities cannot be established. I am not able to comment directly on those issues, save to say, that the issues relating to the particular institution that the hon. member is referring to, falls within the direct purview of the Ministry of Health and Child Care. I think I would be overstepping my mandate if I try to pronounce myself on that. Thank you.
DR. LABODE: Mr. Speaker Sir, let us assume that this scenario had happened, let us not say because of PSMAS, is there no crime committed? That is the question that I want you to answer?
MR. CHASI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to answer the question, first of all, as a former prosecutor and as a lawyer. It is not possible to establish the commission of a crime on the basis of newspaper reports, some of which may be purely emotive. I would rather leave that to those who are responsible for that. I am not able to say that there is a crime or that there is no crime that was committed.
MR. MATANGAIDZE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I think what the House is trying to establish here is, what course of action is Government going to take or rather, this august House is going to take to try and redress that position, because right now, we are not being told what course of action is being taken.
MR. CHASI: Mr. Speaker, I want to assume that the relevant arms of Government that have a direct supervisory role over the institution in question are working on that matter. I am sure that, with the fullness of time, they will pronounce whatever action is going to be taken thereon.