Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Troubled PSMAS besieged by double-dipping senior govt officials

The Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) has been besieged by a cartel of double-dipping senior government officials, Nehanda Radio has learnt.

The medical society was taken over by the ministry of health senior officials in July after its Annual General Meeting (AGM) was canceled on June 30.

PSMAS’s AGM was postponed indefinitely after the government announced that an external forensic audit was required first to determine the medical society’s poor performance.

Civil servants, united under the banner of the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU), have repeatedly accused senior government officials of conspiring to illegally demutualize the medical society.

The standoff between government officials and civil servants culminated in a legal battle in which the latter filed an urgent court application that was removed from the list and replaced with an ordinary court application that is still pending in the courts.

Deputy Minister of Health John Mangwiro, his permanent secretary Jasper Chimedza and ministry officials I. Dube, M. Dhobi, and M. Maxwell are among the ministry of health senior officials who have been accused of running a shadow board with a conflict of interest with PSMAS.

According to a whistle-blower, who preferred anonymity for fear of retaliation, the aforementioned senior government officials are now running PSMAS under the guise of regulators while also providing medical services that they will claim from the medical society.

The whistle-blower also named permanent secretary of finance George Guvamatanga as a member of the cartel pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Guvamatanga in March and April issued government directives to the medical society to pay “60% of disbursed resources towards clearance of arrears to third party service providers,” with the remaining 40% reserved for PSMAS operations.

“When the PSMAS board resigned, the ministry was supposed to call an AGM to appoint new board members, but this cartel postponed the process by claiming they needed a forensic audit.

“Ironically, it is these doctors who are now providing services to PSMAS.

“How can a service provider be both a service provider and the person in charge of PSMAS operations,” the whistle-blower told Nehanda Radio.

“This breeds corruption because false claims are made in order to deprive the organization of funds and resources illegally. This abuse of power is extremely embarrassing, and the corruption at PSMAS is obvious.

“They are in cahoots with Guvamatanga, who issued a circular stating that PSMAS should be 60% services and 40% operations.

“This breeds corruption because false claims are made in order to deprive the organization of funds and resources illegally. This abuse of power is extremely embarrassing, and the corruption at PSMAS is obvious.

“As you can see, PSMI is now closing certain units it rents because the operational costs have surpassed the monthly subscriptions,” the source added.

Repeated efforts to contact Guvamatanga for a comment were fruitless as he did not answer calls and text messages sent to his phone.

PSMAS’s drug subsidiary PSMI is currently struggling to provide quality services or pay employees under the current arrangement.

Nehanda Radio understands that PSMI is planning to relocate from one of its major Harare units, in Eastlea at Tendeseka Complex, due to ongoing financial difficulties.

Civil servants have repeatedly accused government officials of attempting to profit from the difficulties they claim the government created by failing to provide enough subscriptions.

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