No arrests for salarygate fat cats
Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Salarygate beneficiaries will not be arrested for earning huge sums of money because their packages were legally approved by their respective boards, police have said.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Human Rights yesterday, Zimbabwe Republic Police Deputy Director, Legal Services (Civil Process) Assistant Commissioner Takawira Nzombe said salarygate was a governance issue that could be addressed without police involvement.
Asst Comm Nzombe — who was standing in for ZRP Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri — said people like former Premier Service Medical Aid Society chief executive officer Dr Cuthbert Dube were clean as far as the police were concerned.
Asst Comm Nzombe said the PSMAS board had approved Mr Dube’s salary, adding that they only arrested people who committed criminal offences.
“So in terms of the Companies Act, Cuthbert Dube’s salary was approved by the board, which appointed him and gave him conditions of service, which conditions he actually says here are my conditions and he has a contract to that effect.
“Unfortunately, when these things come out, our friends — the Fourth estate (the media) — write about them, the perception is that this person has committed a criminal offence. But as long as it was approved by the board, he has not committed an offence.”
He said while it was morally wrong for Dr Dube to be paid huge sums of money at the expense of service delivery, that did not constitute a criminal offence. Asst Comm Nzombe said it was up to the Government to plug loopholes in corporate governance.
“Happison Muchechetere also was getting huge salaries of US$40 000 per month and his maids were paid by the company but his workers went for months without being paid.
“What we arrested Happison for was not for that salary. It was for the tender, that OB Van, which he got from China that is before the courts now. The tender procedure was it done properly and things like that? That’s when we say there is corruption and a criminal offence that has been committed. But when it comes to salaries, our hands are tied as ZRP,” said Asst Comm Nzombe.
According to a Government pay schedule released in March this year, most heads of parastatals were paying themselves “obscene” salaries despite the fact that some of the entities were not performing.
As a result, Cabinet in March approved an interim measure by putting a salary cap of US$6 000 per month for the highest paid employee at an Government- linked entity.
However, there are indications that the directive has not been implemented because Government has not officially communicated the position to all State-linked entities.
According to the schedule, Mr Dube earned about $530 000 per month followed by NetOne managing director, Mr Reward Kangai who got about $43 500 monthly, while Mr Muchechetere was entitled to about $37 000.