Felex Share Senior Reporter—
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has cleared former Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) group chief executive Dr Cuthbert Dube and his board of any wrongdoing during their tenure of office. Investigations by ZACC following a report by PSMAS board chairperson Mr Jeremiah Bvirindi, revealed that Dr Dube, who was earning $236 000 a month, had no case to answer on the six counts he was facing.
ZACC said there was no sufficient evidence to nail board members on charges of receiving huge allowances.
Everything, ZACC said, was done above board.
Results of the investigations are contained in a six-page document from ZACC acting secretary Mr Silas Pondo, which was submitted to the PSMAS management on March 31 this year.
“Investigations were carried out by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission following a report you made,” Mr Pondo said in a letter to Mr Bvirindi.
“Please be advised that investigations failed to link the suspects to the commission of the offence. Thank you for showing confidence in our organisation.”
The allegations levelled against Dr Dube and his board members related to abuse of board fees, allowances, fraud, theft and use of PSMAS funds for ZIFA-related activities.
ZACC’s legal department indicated that all the payments were made in line with the existing PSMAS policy.
Dr Dube had been at the helm of PSMAS since 1992 before he was booted out in January 2014.
Mr Bvirindi yesterday confirmed receipt of communication from ZACC and said they were disappointed with the outcome.
Mr Bvirindi said PSMAS would use other avenues to pursue the matter.
“We were shell-shocked and we will pursue the case by way of summons because there are cases where we feel offences were committed,” he said.
“When we were studying the Ernst and Young audit report, we decided as PSMAS to engage another group of experts to look into the issue because we wanted legal implications when dealing with these issues,” said Mr Bvirindi.
“We selected a legal firm which carried out another investigation as an internal process. At the same time, ZACC came with a certificate of seizure from the magistrate and took all the documents pertaining to PSMAS based on the Ernst and Young report. We advised them of our separate process and that we wanted the processes to be synchronised to come with a document for the complainant,” he said.
He went on: “After they were through, we exchanged notes and came up with one document. They said it was not possible for them to be a complainant but witnesses in court. ZACC said we would be going to court but we waited for long without anything. We were shocked by the delay only to tell us that their legal department had concluded that they could not proceed as there was no case. They also took long in writing to us.”
ZACC’s legal department said investigations were done using the Medical Services Act (Number 27/1998, Medical Services (Medical Aid Societies) Regulations 2000 and PSMAS Constitution.
The department said Dr Dube was alleged to have received $376 630 in critical allowances without the approval of the board but investigations showed the board had approved.
“He was alleged to have unlawfully transferred a house in Glen Lorne, Harare, into his name when the said property was bought using PSMAS money,” read the document.
“Investigations show that it was part of his employment contract that he would be given a house. Again this charge cannot stand.”
Dr Dube also faced allegations of claiming $796 960 in self-approved personal loans from PSMAS.
“He indeed applied and received the said loans,” ZACC said.
“It has been found that there are documents showing that his contract of employment entitled him to access personal loans twelve times his monthly salary. His salary was $236 000 per month and he could access a loan 12 times that figure.”
ZACC said Dr Dube repaid the loans.
On the $285 000 Dr Dube allegedly claimed as travel and subsistence allowances while on ZIFA business, ZACC responded: “There is a policy document which allowed payment of such allowances.”
The legal department said while the former board members received attendance fees even for meeting they did not attend, investigations had shown that there was a board resolution which entitled every board member to the sitting allowance whether or not they attended.
“In this respect there was no law or rule violated,” read the document.
The department said if some board member received holiday allowances or had their holiday trips paid for by PSMAS when they were non-executive members, they should be charged if there was proof.
ZACC also said when Dr Dube was removed from office, there was no proper hand-over, take-over and documents needed to support cases against him could not be found.
Sources say the five PSMAS executives suspended earlier this year were also likely to be cleared as their suspension was based on the same allegations the Dr Dube-led administration was facing.
The five are Ms Mavis Gumbo (head of communications and stakeholder relations), Mrs Anna Mangwiro (head of marketing), Mr Richard Mutasa (head of risk and audit), Mr Cosmas Mukwesha (company secretary) and Dr Nicholas Munyonga (head of health care services).
The group, suspended on February 2, should have appeared before a disciplinary hearing within 14 days.
To date no hearing has been held, a violation of the PSMAS code of conduct.