By Paidamoyo Chipunza
Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) has suspended five executives for allegedly siphoning millions of dollars at the height of the mega salaries scandal under former group chief executive officer, Dr Cuthbert Dube.
The five are head of communications and stakeholder relations Ms Mavis Gumbo, head of marketing Mrs Anna Mtengwa Mangwiro, Mr Richard Mutasa (head of risk and audit), company secretary Mr Cosmas Mukwesha and head of managed care, Dr Nicholas Munyonga.
They are expected to appear before a disciplinary hearing in the next 14 days to answer to charges of swindling the medical aid society.
The five were exposed by an audit instituted to look into the salaries scandal at PSMAS after the expulsion of Dr Dube, who was reportedly taking home over $500 000 per month in salaries and allowances.
The society has already instituted legal proceedings against other executives who have left.
These are Dr Dube, former finance director Mr Ernest Gwinyai, former operations director Mr Enock Chitekedza, Mr Raphel Paradzai and Mrs Juliana Sabarauta.
They were all implicated in the audit report for defrauding the society through, among others scams, not paying tax, masked transactions, board fees and allowances for non-PSMAS business.
PSMAS board chairman Mr Jeremiah Bvirindi confirmed the suspension of the five executives yesterday.
He said the board recommended that management implements the findings and recommendations of the audit report.
“We have now completed studying the report and we resolved that we pursue the criminal cases in terms of the PSMAS code of conduct. This resulted in senior managers being suspended pending their appearing before a disciplinary hearing,” said Mr Bvirindi.
“We are not saying they are guilt. They are still innocent until they are proven guilty before the disciplinary hearing.”
The five executives were served with suspension letters on Wednesday and are expected to appear before a disciplinary hearing within 14 days.
Asked why it had taken the board so long to implement the audit report, Mr Bvirindi said they were still new and needed to put structures and policies in place.
The new board also needed to study the audit report, consult financial and legal experts and implement measures accordingly, he said.
“Am sure you are also aware that there were a couple of issues that took place immediately after our appointment,” said Mr Bvirindi.
“There were battles with former managing director, Mr Henry Mandishona, which took time to resolve, and other members of staff who also had issues at that time, together with our strategic imperatives which we wanted to achieve. This saw us taking this long to implement the audit report.”
Mr Mandishona was suspended and then fired by PSMAS in 2015 over corruption charges, including unilaterally increasing his salary from $13 000 to $19 350 and changing his motor vehicle entitlement.
He had just been hired to head the medical aid society after the expulsion of Dr Dube.
Mr Bvirindi said the PSMAS board managed to transform the society, restore sanity and was in the process of restoring confidence in different stakeholders.
“We have covered almost 80 percent of all that has been outstanding and we are happy that issues of governance will soon be put to finality,” he said.
“We have policies and structures that were put in place, which were never there and we feel PSMAS is now on course to recovery.”
Problems at PSMAS started in 2014 when the organisation’s top management’s remuneration structure was exposed by the media.
Despite the huge salaries and benefits, PSMAS failed to pay service providers and this saw its members failing to access healthcare when they needed it.
After the exposure of the rot, group CEO and chairman Dr Dube was forced to step down and the whole board of directors also resigned.
The society operated under an interim management for about a year, before a properly constituted board led by Mr Bvirindi was put in place in 2015 at the society’s Annual General Meeting. The Herald