The Deputy Minister of Public Service Tapiwa Matangaidze was put under the spot yesterday in Parliament when he was asked to explain the chaos at the Premier Service Medical Aid Society and why the society paid what appeared to be a loan to Health Minister David Parirenyatwa.
He said he could not answer the question on why the chief executive of PSMAS was reinstated after he “blew more than $1.6 million” because the case was sub-judice.
Matangaidze said the question about Parirenyatwa should be put in writing as there was need to investigate what actually happened.
The Herald said PSMAS paid Parirenyatwa $100 000 when it owed him only $23 000. Parirenyatwa told the paper that everything was above board and the extra amount that he was paid was “capitation”.
Veritas Zimbabwe, however, said the constitution stipulated that ministers should not carry out any paid outside work while in office
Q & A:
HON. CHITINDI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services. Minister, there has been instability at PSMAS, what is the Government’s level of engagement with PSMAS to make sure that there is stability at PSMAS?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for his question. Before I address his question, it may be important to just highlight the structure of the Board at PSMAS.
Currently, we have nine Board members there, three are appointed by Government; three are elected by the civil service and three are elected at an AGM of PSMAS. Clearly from that, you will see that six out of the nine are falling directly under Government. So Government’s fiduciary responsibility there cannot be overlooked. Yes, Government has a clear interest in the running of PSMAS.
As we speak, there has been some intervention where four arbitrators have been appointed to give some stability to PSMAS. It is in our best interest that PSMAS runs smoothly and we all look forward to that. Currently, when we find that there are people who are taking Government Ministers to court; it is rather negative and retrogressive. I think people should allow due process to happen and clearly there will be stability at PSMAS. I thank you.
HON. MUNENGAMI: My supplementary question to the Hon. Deputy Minister is that recently, you reversed a decision whereby one of the Chief Executive Officers blew more than US$1.6million and the Board suspended him for further investigations.
Instead of doing the correct thing of allowing investigations to take place, you reversed that decision and wrote a letter to the suspended Chief Executive Officer for him to return to work. May you explain the rationale behind that reinstatement?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Deputy Minister, may you confirm that the matter is before the courts now from what we read in the papers?
HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE: Thank you Mr. Speaker, yes, indeed the matter is sub judice. It is before the courts as we speak.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Sorry, if the matter is sub judice, we cannot discuss it now. Let the court process take its course.
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Hon. Deputy Minister, we are all aware of the fact that PSMAS is in great financial problems. As the Deputy Minister, may you please explain to this august House how PSMAS; that is in such financial dire straits can pay a certain amount of money into a Minister’s personal account for the future free treatment of patients. Is that the correct procedure of paying before receiving treatment?
HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE: You will appreciate that that is rather a specific question in relation to a – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – specific individual to a specific case. I would rather the Hon. Member puts that in writing to the specific Ministry that is involved. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, the import of the question is, is that Government policy to give loans by PSMAS to individual people?
HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE: Thank you Mr. Speaker, no, it is not Government policy.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: If the Minister says it is not Government policy, how does it arise that the Minister is given a loan to his personal account for his private surgery, is it not corruption? How does he qualify that; if the Minister can be very generous for the nation to hear the truth?
HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE: It boils down to what I was talking about Mr. Speaker that it now becomes a very specific question because people will then need to delve into the merits of the matter to find out if the incident that he is alluding to actually happened.
I propose that the Hon. Member puts it in writing and investigations will be made.