via MEGA EARNERS FACE ARREST – Southern Eye by Veneranda Langa 10 April 2014
Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa yesterday told Parliament that Premier Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas) mega salary earners could be arrested if an investigation underway finds they acted illegally.
He also said all the money illegally earned would be recovered if the forensic audit found their remuneration was not above board.
Parirenyatwa spoke a day after Zimra commissioner-general Gershom Pasi appeared before the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs.
Pasi warned that Zimrawould soon pounce on more businesses and megasalary earners by issuing garnish orders for understated taxes.
Parirenyatwa appeared before the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Heath and Child Care chaired by MDC-T MP Ruth Labode to speak on Psmas, the Bulawayo Ekusileni Medical Centre and the Health Transition Fund pertaining to scrapping of maternal user fees.
MPs asked him to explain the measures his ministry had taken to ensure Psmas executives’ obscene salaries issues did not recur.
“It is true that the salaries were insane, but what we have then done after this impasse was to put things into proper place, and put up a six-member committee led by Dr Gibson Mhlanga to oversee the legal aspect of setting up an AGM and so there is no real vacuum now,” Parirenyatwa said.
“There will be a remuneration forensic audit to say you earned so much and how did you earn it — who gave you the permission to earn it — and we are giving them timelines so that the audit reveals what has happened.
Psmas was struggling to service a $40 million debt to service providers while its top management was gobbling at least $1 million monthly in basic salaries and allowances.
Former Psmas chief executive Cuthbert Dube was reportedly earning over $500 000 per month. However, he disputes the figures.
On Bulawayo’s Ekusileni Medical Centre that has been lying idle for a decade. Parirenyatwa agreed with the assertions of the committee that there was likelihood of an ownership wrangle. This followed claims by NSSA that it owned the hospital, while the family of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo was said to have been the owners of the land.
Some doctors identified as Nyathi and Tarungwa, as well as those led by Daud Dube also claimed to have put in some investment into the hospital.
On maternity user fees, Parirenyatwa said Zimbabwe still had a high maternal mortality rate of 525 deaths per 100 000 births.
He said the major factors were payment of user fees, inappropriatecare during delivery, and lack of health care facilities where expecting mothers ended up being helped by traditional midwives.
Labode said it was not wise to do away with the attendants as some remote areas had no access to medical institutions, adding their skills should be sharpened.