Paidamoyo Chipunza Health Reporter
The top management at Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) is gobbling at least US$1 million in basic monthly salaries at a time the State enterprise is reeling under a US$38 million debt.
As at December 31, the society owed service providers US$38 million in unpaid bills for medical services rendered to its members.
Documents in possession of The Herald show that the PSMAS group chief executive, Mr Cuthbert Dube, earned a basic monthly salary of US$230 000 as at 2012.
The documents show he earned US$144 097,52 in June the same year, meaning his basic salary went up nearly US$100 000 in three months.
The PSMAS annual wage bill rose from US$15 547 171 in 2011 to US$33 413 373 in 2012, almost half of which was paid to the top 14 managers.
After Mr Dube, the nest two top earners, according to the documents, were the group finance manager, a Mr E. Gwinyai (no longer with the PSMAS), who earned a basic salary of US$200 000 a month, and group operations executive Mr Enock Chitekedza (US$122 000).
Eight other senior directors were earning a basic salary of US$60 000 every month.
Three other middle managers were paid US$30 000, US$22 000 and US$15 000 00 each.
This brings the monthly wage bill of the top 14 to just nearly US$1,1 million. Everyone else at PSMAS earns a combined US$900 000, the documents show.
Further, all group executives recently received a US$300 000 payment, approved by Mr Dube, for as yet unclear reasons.
In June of 2012, the monthly wage bill of the top 14 stood at US$570 969 and it increased to US$744 000 in July and August.
Minutes of a meeting held on Wednesday July 4, 2012 show that Mr Dube approved lump sum payments of US$300 000 for each of the group executives, and these payments were to be made with arrears subscriptions recovered from the private sector.
“It was agreed that a special bank account to be administered by the three collective bargaining committee representatives in liaison with the group finance executive, be opened for that purpose with immediate effect,” read part of the minutes.
The minutes further state that the representatives should, on a regular basis, update the group chief executive on the inflows and disbursements from the said special bank account.
The documents also show that PSMAS bought a house in Glen Lorne, Harare, for about US$534 000.
It could not be established by the time of going to press whether the purchase was a loan advanced to Mr Dube or was part of his package as group CEO.
Mr Dube had in the afternoon said he could not comment as he was busy. He said he would be free to talk after 6pm but his mobile phone went unanswered up to the time of going to print.
Efforts to get comment from board chair Mrs Meisie Makeletso Namasasu and her deputy Mr Newton Mhlanga also failed last night.
PSMAS group legal and corporate secretary Mr Cosmas Mukwesha yesterday dismissed the alleged salary schedule in our possession saying employees last got an increment in 2011.
Mr Mukwesha could not be drawn into revealing the “correct” salary schedule, saying: “Issues of salaries are private and confidential but I assure you they are far away from the figures you are talking about.”
He said PSMAS was reviewing salaries with assistance from officials from the Ministry of Finance.
On the US$300 000 once-off lump sum that our documents show was approved for all group executives, Mr Mukwesha said the money was yet to be paid out because of financial limitations.
He said the lump sum was a housing loan that would be deducted from salaries monthly.
But Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said Government was investigating the matter.
“We are investigating the allegations in an intense manner together with other issues that are happening in the medical aid industry.
“We want to put things under control in a sustainable manner for the benefit of the country,” Dr Parirenyatwa said.
Dr Parirenyatwa said apart from the salaries, his ministry – in conjunction with the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Ministry – was also looking at medical aid subscriptions and service providers’ tariffs among other things.
Government monitors and regulates medical aid societies’ operations. It licences them to operate as societies and has the mandate to de-register them when they fall short of requirements.
PSMAS is the biggest and oldest society in Zimbabwe catering for more than 600 000 people, the majority of whom are in the civil service and uniformed forces.