Mugabe aide named in Psmas looting

HARARE - Presidential spokesman George Charamba has been sucked into the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas) benefits saga amid revelations that he sat on the beleaguered medical funder’s main board and a committee, which approved Cuthbert Dube’s mega perks.

This comes amid revelations that the feisty government spin-doctor — along with  new chairman Luxon Zembe — could have also racked thousands of dollars from the scandal-hit group and its associate companies, as they sat on at least eight of 13 sub-committees within the sprawling group.

Documents seen by the Daily News show that Dube was not only taking a $320 000 basic salary as at December last year, but was entitled to a $500 000 long service-award payment every five years, $50 000 travel allowance per trip and another $20 000 for his partner, unlimited fuel and free medical aid — yet he was also raking in $40 000 weekly towards medical treatment last year.

Although Charamba could not readily divulge how much he and many others had earned in Psmas board fees, company secretary Cosmas Mukwezha confirmed some of Dube’s perks.

Crucially, Charamba said he was “representing government’s interest as the the majority members’ employer” and that Dube’s remuneration was mainly driven by the outgoing chief executive, and a string of former chairpersons in line with a long-standing tradition.

“I am culpable to the extent that I didn’t ask the right questions. We found the machinery already in place. We fatally assumed government policy was being followed,” Charamba said, adding he was “the least paid board member” and further reminding the Daily News that even President Robert Mugabe was the Psmas patron.

The top civil servant said he had even “shot down” a proposal to pay board members who had not attended some meetings.

Asked whether he felt there was board culpability on the corporate malfeasance at the society, charamba said “there was a board within the board who in secrecy agreed on conditions of service.”

The top Mugabe aide said the rot was not institutionalised, but “reduced to the CEO (and) not members of our board” and even, though, the consequence was that it “besmirches the image of the whole board.”

And as the “corrupt salaries” scandal also takes a factional, and tribal tone in the  Zanu PF government, information at hand shows that Charamba not only served on several Psmas subsidiary company boards, including Premier Service Medical Investments (Private) Limited  (PSMI), but also sat on five key committees.

These include the benefits, co-ordinated healthcare and joint ventures committee, finance and budget, PSMI medical centre board committee and a fairly novel group chief’s conditions of service committee.

Between him and Zembe — cast as the new Psmas saviour — Charamba shared quite a number of board seats in the 17-member group along three other top government officials, including Higher Education permanent secretary Constance Chigwamba, Meiie Nemasasu and Public Service Commission staffer Pretty Sunguro.

These include PSMI — where Dube was given a 20 percent stake funded by the parent company — Claybank Clinic (Private) Limited, Dorothy Duncan Centre, Premier Optometry Services (Private), Emergency Medical Rescue Ambulance Services, Premier Service Clinical Laboratories (Private) Limited, Premier Rehabilitation Services and Premier Dental Clinics (Private) Limited.

With the other lot encompassing Medical Centre, Parkview Hospital, PMAC Properties, Premier Services Medical Healthcare (Private) Limited, Premier Service Hospitals Chiredzi, Premier Service Hospitals Shashi, PSMI Hospitals (West End Hospitals), Premier Service Pharmaceuticals (Private) Limited and Premier Service Radiology, the $310 million group is mainly funded by civil servants.

According to Charamba, nearly 80 percent of Psmas’s contributors are civil servants.

While Dube has turned out to be the fall guy, government insiders have also told this paper that the outgoing chief executive had a $220 000 half-yearly bonus along with his executives who were getting slightly less.

The managers, who include feisty Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) women’s league boss Mavis Gumbo and national football team doctor Nicholas Munyonga, were getting hefty salaries of $60 000-plus.

Amid revelations that Dube was raking an average $30 000 in board fees per month, which translates to $300 000-plus per year, it means the likes of Charamba and Zembe could have also made a tardy cool amount of cash.

For his “long-service award payments”, the ZIFA president could have pocketed a cool $2 million to date since he has been at the Psmas helm for 22 years. He also enjoyed unlimited hotel stay and grocery purchases.

Essentially, the expose shows that Psmas had a unique and top-hat plan or package for Dube, including 24-hour guards for his two northern suburb properties, maids, two chefs and gardeners and two drivers.

As things stand, Dube’s 20 percent stake in PSMI was allegedly funded by the mutual organisation “as part of his retirement package”.

However, the board has resolved to recall some of the perks, including the Psmas-funded mansions and vehicles.

And as the saga continues, pressure is mounting on government to act on these errant public sector bosses.

Comments (45)

thats why mugabe is not saying anything about it. wait and hear the lies which will be said soon to make sure he and those who are close to him are made safe. only scape goats will be mentioned and nothing will be done to them. in fact as soon as the cases die down the will be told to go and enjoy their loot somewhere where people will not notice them. poor zimbabweans and zanu supporters.

zim - 5 February 2014

The suggestion being made is that "a string of former chairperson's in line with a long-standing tradition" knew what was happening. Can these former chairpersons also be named. Secondly why is there no mention of what the Board fees were, because surely these must been equally substantial for all these senior persons to turn a blind eye to what was happening.

Chamunorwira - 5 February 2014

The Nation requires thorough cleansing in both public and private institutions

Paul Chavhunduka - 5 February 2014

Maifunga zviri zvega here maZimbo. Bobo was in as patron, his spokesperson holding numerous portfolios anova matuvu/muteyo wekutora mari. Tingori isu chete taidai takazvuzvurudzwa kare. Even with all other parastatals and local authorities it is the same order. What a disparaging level of endemic, institutionalized corruption by so called torch bearers in national governance. Shame.

Tototo - 5 February 2014

Please can visit us here at NETONE and check what Kangai and team are taking

khumbu - 5 February 2014

The disease has progressed too far.To deal with it, we need to destroy the host entirely, and that host is Zany party,. I hope you don't find this vulgar or hurtful.

mgodla wentwala - 5 February 2014

its all about zanu and those people who dance at rallies. shame on them. i just cant believe that with all this happening people can proudly display their zanu support. remember i am not saying i support any party, but at present its becoming an embarrasment to be associated with this party unless when you are not okay,( i am sorry in your head).

sammy - 5 February 2014

This headline is misleading and of poor quality when compared to the herald, Tell us the figures , what did Charamba got, otherwise you are trivialising big issues due to reckless reporting. Instead of taking things further this report only takes us back because its now politics. What a disservice to the nation. uSELESS PAPER.

reason - 5 February 2014

That is bora mugedhi

mambo - 5 February 2014

the problem in zimbabwe is one of lack of leadership, look at Mugabe Himself, then drop down to local government one employee is getting $35000 in salaries alone go to grass root level and see how much each house hold is paying in one of the surbabs in Harare that eg Budiriro , on average each house hold is paying $40 and divide that by $35000 you find that nearly a thousand homes are paying one emplyee , come to zesa its the same scenario , Wake up Mugabe and be a leader cut down those mega salaries to sustainable levels if one does not want to be paid those salaries fire them the courts are ours

chakanaka - 5 February 2014

How much did Mugabe get? Mind you, this is just PSMAS. What about ZINARA, Air Zim, RTG, Zisco, Marange, NRZ, ARDA, etc, etc. You think I exaggerate? Think again. And you think ZATO PF can cleanse themselves? They would rather kill us first.

POINTER - 5 February 2014

The saddening thing is that those exposed will never be touched it is like we have a multitude of the untouchables in our nation who will never be punished for disservice but are allowed to go scot free. It is high time that a stamp on corruption is put with long term jail sentence on perpetrators. they only shout for now until all cools down and the matters laid to rest and forgotten. what happened to Masimirembwa?

tk - 5 February 2014

GENUINE PEOPLE LIKE NELSON MANDELA HAD ONLY US$4mil including all his investiments. NOW WE HAVE PEOPLE WITH NO CLUE ON HOW TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS TRYING TO BE BILLIONAIRES OVERNITE. YOU CAN'T SUSTAIN A BUSINESS LOOTING LIKE THAT.

Ziziharinanyanga - 5 February 2014

Cuthbert Dube and all those who participated knowingly and unknowingly must not only be prosecuted, they should never be made to get away with all the loot when the said PSMAS is wallowing in debt. Recently, my son who has been a member since 1997 and only got to use his medical aid card once, was told to pay a top up of US40-00, in spite of the fact that he had never used the service. Now, civil service organisations (ZIMTA, PTUZ, TUZ, GWA, COLAZ etc) must put resources together and take these guys to court for possible reimbursement of the looted cash. That Charamba can claim that he thought government regulations were being followed shows that so-called leaders in the Civil Service are just appointed on partisan (patronage) lines, they know not what they do. Shame! Shame Shame! Shame! Shame Shame!

Majakarabvunda - 5 February 2014

Hahahahaha hechoo! I told you before and I will repeat this; Mugabe was a big beneficiary in all this. Wait and see. The big portion of that "hefty" perk was going to Mugabe and Zanu PF probably through Charamba or even directly. Wait and see. Then you wonder why Mugabe is not taking action!! Oh my foot!! Why would he take action against himself? No ways.

Exiled - 5 February 2014

LIKE GUMBURA LIKE CHARAMABA & CATS-BET DUBE

wertyuyt - 5 February 2014

Warren Buffet as CEO at Berkshire hathaway was earning $100 000 per annum, while the company had an excess of $40 billion dollars in cash reserves. Real millionaires know what is value in corporate management.

Mudhara Dhadza - 5 February 2014

Our antention is being diverted from real issues here by exposing what they already know and pretend that they didnt. May this paper dig further remember people were promised jobs which are not even in sight. THE ZIMASET blueprint has failed before it has been implemented. Top civil servant's healthy. KO YEKUUNZA ma zim dollar disguised as chinese yuan

Zvazvinhu - 5 February 2014

suprise suprise. you buggers just feed into each others greed and keep crippling the company.

chihera - 5 February 2014

In one leading paper I said theat the real thief is the president of Zimbabwe but they were not willing to publish my comment. I am sure to repeat my comment here: Robert Mugabe is the thief.Why, if he was acting on all this we wouldnt have the rot that has become of our parastatals.

Robert - 5 February 2014

dear , oh dear !!! A fish rots head first.

lorenzo - 5 February 2014

“I am culpable to the extent that I didn't ask the right questions" - So you agree of your incompetence. Charamba does not have the skills required to seat in a board Matibili appointed him there so that he can also "eat". Representing the government my foot.

Lt General - 5 February 2014

In one leading paper I said that the real thief is the president of Zimbabwe but they were not willing to publish my comment. I am sure to repeat my comment here: Robert Mugabe is the thief. Why, if he was acting on all this we wouldnt have the rot that has become of our parastatals.

Robert - 5 February 2014

Cuthbert has more than 150 immovable properties. Go and check at the Deer registry offices.

cloud matenda - 5 February 2014

Having worked for PSMAS and forced to resign - I found Mr Charamba's explanation very believable and plausible. Ask any EX- PSMAS manager/doctor/lab scientist etc , they will tell you that most decisions were made by a small cabal of people. You would never feel safe, with a string of low level workers spying and reporting on everything you do. I was called and given 24 hours to collect my belongings from my work station opposite Holiday Inn. They even repossessed a nokia handset from me, just to spite a former managerial employee. The crime I committed: to question why operational issues are being decided by HR at Headoffice. It was very traumatic, to have people sent to follow you even after work as if I was a political opponent. I know many people will crucify me for appearing to support Mr Charamba's explanation. However I also believe he received well above normal board fees and felt that this is normal in PSMAS. Who would refuse, if you are simply given these fees? GCEOs have an important role in the function of corporate boards, everywhere in the world. They even nominate and even motivate to the whole board on new policy, new board entrants etc. So if the GCEO is corrupt,it will take a crisis like this for us the public to know the goings on. Let us be honest, the company secretary functions closely with CEO to prepare meetings/AGM agendas etc and all board members do is to receive their board packs. Sometimes minutes are even doctored. In PSMAS a culture of theft, dishonesty and manipulation developed over years. Mr Charamba is being candid here.Some of these guys from the old Psmas board are necessary to help stabilise and tell us what happened. If they are all banished away, how will a complete new board find their way?

EX- PSMAS doctor - 5 February 2014

the horns of the wicked must be frayed.

oliver chitamba - 5 February 2014

Bhora mugedhe, mari muhomwe! zvekutambura kwevanhu ndezvavo izvo! kupusa kwavo. vanombotivhoterei?

Tongogara - 5 February 2014

if you dig down, you will see that there is no justice in Zimbabwe . I think what we need is GOD INTERVENTION. MWARI PINDIRAI.

Solo - 5 February 2014

chero mukahukura sei cashbet ndiye pasina zvaanoitwa, from yo story the pointer is vaidya vakawanda saka they cannot afford to crucify him. unofunga kuti iye cashbet akapusa ndosaka aida vanageorge pedo kuti vaite muonera pamwe pafufuro. icho, charira, kupiko, kupsmas.

cde churucheminzwa - 5 February 2014

I am in agreement with Cloud Matenda about what could have possibly been going on in the Group. Mind you Cuthbert Dube made sure all the guys that knew the important details and candid details were well taken care of. Nobody would dare open their mouth. But there must have been some problem at PSMAS or else these guys were just taking orders from the top chef. Where the audit, remuneration and corporate governance committees? Arlam bells should have rang long ago. Dr Dube was recalled from retirement. Why? Because he was so generous and made sure that the people that mattered were well taken care of. I urge the powered to be to trace every company where Dube and all the board members are directors, I am sure they will uneath some shocking details. Look at PSMAS and ZBC, both Dube's babies. A serious clean up has to be done in zim

chitova - 5 February 2014

I am in agreement with ex psmas DOCTOR about what could have possibly been going on in the Group. Mind you Cuthbert Dube made sure all the guys that knew the important details and candid details were well taken care of. Nobody dared open their mouth. But there must have been some problem at PSMAS or else these guys were just taking orders from the top chef. Where were the audit, remuneration and corporate governance committees? Alarm bells should have rang long ago. Dr Dube was recalled from retirement. Why? Because he was so generous and made sure that the people that mattered were well taken care of. I urge the powers to be to trace every company where Dube and all the board members are directors, I am sure they will uneath some shocking details. Look at PSMAS and ZBC, both Dube's babies. A serious clean up has to be done in zim

chitova - 5 February 2014

If Mugabe is a real president, he should fire Charamba, but he wont because kana naiye ari corrupt. What of his house in Malasia which he at one point lied he was only renting for his daughter? Hapana mutsvene - vese vane huori, We just need a new Government and start afresh.

Mike Hove - 5 February 2014

So to which faction does Charamba & mugabe belong to, the Mujuru or Ngwena faction?

Topheavy - 5 February 2014

The entire PSMAS board should be changed. We need a chairman and GCEO who were not part of this rot. If Newton Mhlanga possibly knows how Dube got the 20% shareholding, then so does Dr Farai Muchena the MD of the very PSMI in which the 20% was ill gotten. So why make Muchena the acting GCEO of PSMAS ? He will conceal evidence. Dr Muchena is as rotten as Cuthbert Dube. Does Medical school train such brazen corruption ? Who is protecting Dr Muchena ? Why are we not told how much Muchena was getting ?

Eye - 6 February 2014

You are correct, Dr Muchena is shamefully bringing the medical profession into disrepute due to his obscene corruption, and unfortunately training young doctors like Dr Nicholas Munyonga within PSMAS such cancerous deeds. Some people on PSMAS have died due to failure to access medical service as a result of greed and corruption done by Dr Muchena, Dr Munyonga and company when they were instead trained to save lives.

Mavis - 6 February 2014

Its a law of representation as longs the CEO salary and benefits do not exceed the President' plus First Familiy its all in order.

The Fish Rots from the Head - 6 February 2014

A case of double standards. No wonder why CEO are very powerful in Zimbabwe, parastatals, ZSE listed companies, local authorities etc. Board members have no control. We need a Corporate Governance and ethics Act of parliament criminalising offenders or at least a Ministry of Corporate Governance

MAPINGIRE - 6 February 2014

vanhu vemuzimbwabwe mese murimarabishi you must all get arrested how can someone gets a million $ per month when you claim to be under sanctions . MR Commander in chief lets have Salary controls.Your economy no one must get salary above $8000 in zimbabwe whether CEO or or any minister.look your civil servents including your educated perm secretary they get $500 less than$1000 thus reasoble amount for that economy. Mr comander in chief musanyegerere munhu wether its e palastatal or municipality dzingai imbwa dzese masalaries ngaaenderane ne economy yenyika yedu. vanhu varikutambura .vanoda mari idzodzo ngavaende ku America vandopiwe mari idzodzo. Munyika yamai Gushungo apa tinoda Kuona simba renyu chairo chairo nekuti apa paita vasveta simba

DOFO - 6 February 2014

Matsotsi vana Charamba and all.Kubira vanhu chete. ZANU,MDC zvafanana zvotoda isu takavasvipa kare.Nhaka vanorutsa twedu twose twavakadya.Vajaira

Nyikayaramba - 6 February 2014

VaMayaya! VaMaya ! VaMayazi batai vanhu

sabhuku vharazipi - 7 February 2014

reporter can you pliz write a column on how white collar crimes are really master minded

koshy - 8 February 2014

Indeed the fish rots from the head 1st.Ngwazi Matibili will do anything to protect Manheru Charamba from prosecution.After all Matibili did shield Manheru Charamba from Prosecution when he brutalised his wife.Matibili will continue to condone Corruption coz he is the Commander in Chief of Looting in Zim ,he is the Engineman of the Zanu pf gravy train.Power corrupts,absolute power corrupts absolutely !.

Dr Zvichaperachete - 9 February 2014

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cartridgegallery - 11 February 2014

what did government or the party gain from its relationship with PSMAS,loans to fund government and party activities I presume

Chikwama - 11 February 2014

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