Psmas board was ineffective: Zembe

HARARE - As pressure mounts on the Premier Services Medical Aid Society (Psmas) board to resign, new chairperson Luxon Zembe says the previous council was “ineffective and wracked by poor skills mix”, hence the rampant abuse of power by a few.

The admission comes as the business consultant and corporate governance guru has reportedly nominated presidential spokesman George Charamba for the chairmanship of Premier Services Medical Investments, the heart and soul of the troubled medical aid funder.

“The problems at Psmas are a tragedy of leadership without integrity and moral authority. It was a betrayal of trust, faith and confidence placed in apex leadership,” Zembe told the Daily News last week, adding the new thrust was anchored in “cost containment, restoring normal services to members and realign board fees, and management salaries to productivity”.

The outgoing CBZ Holdings Limited chairperson also said steps were underway to strengthen corporate governance issues at Psmas and this would be underpinned by “moral conscience”, and a robust programme to “remodel administrative costs for effective and efficient service delivery”.

“Corporate governance entails... responsibility, transparency, accountability, integrity and fairness,” Zembe said, adding “robust policies, systems and procedures are being put in place”.

Crucially, the Psmas boss said they were intent on “building a financially healthy and sustainable organisation less keen on patronage, and bent on building a robust business culture”.

“Now it’s a different tune all together. Everybody, including the chairman and chief executive, are held to account. No individual, two people or committee for that matter can purport to be the board or act without reporting to the full board. Full disclosure and accountability is the new norm,” Zembe said.

“Any driver who keeps (his or her) eyes focussed on the rear view mirror for too long will crash,” he added.

Zembe’s remarks come in the wake of on-going exposé on retired chief executive Cuthbert Dube’s five-digit earnings — broken down as $92 000 in his Psmas salary and another $138 000 from PSMI, and the nascent Zambian operation.

In the aftermath of the exposé, Charamba and Zembe have been “outed” as some of the high-earning members at the society, and despite its $40 million debts.

However, a defiant Charamba has suggested that he will only go after intervention from higher offices — or at least the authority which appointed him along two other permanent secretaries Constance Chigwamba and Pretty Sunguro.

While Finance ministry senior staffer Meisie Namasasu has incurred her employer’s wrath over her role in the unravelling saga — following her suspension — it seems that the rest of the board, particularly the government trio, is hanging.

And as Dube has clearly come out as a sacrificial lamb, nothing has been asked of those who actually approved his perks and just as the rest of the team has signalled its intention to plod on.

This is despite the existence of real and lingering questions about collective responsibility at Psmas.

Even, though, the health insurer is a non-profit welfare entity owned by its members, it works closely with government as its majority contributors’ employer.

According to information wheeled out by the society recently, nearly 80 percent of the $310 million group and subscribers are civil servants.

However, these key constituencies feel marginalised as they have been failing to access medical treatment, yet “fat-cat” bosses were raking away millions.

But Zembe, who is not oblivious of the task ahead to restore investor confidence, says they are targeting to grow current membership to a million this year.

“...we will target 10 percent growth every succeeding year. The growth is targeted at members who are on our viable schemes so that we balance demand of utilisation and cost of claims,” he said.

“Every cent is going to be accounted for and purpose of expenditure fully justified in writing. Hold me to account as your chairman should similar mistakes be repeated while I am in office. Robust policies, systems and procedures are being put in place with immediate effect,” Zembe added.

He said the group’s plans to expand into Angola and Mozambique would be put on hold until things stabilised at Psmas.

Meanwhile, government has called on Psmas to call for a special general meeting to, among other things, dissolve the board as well as pave way for the issuance of an operating licence for 2014.

Paul Chimedza, the deputy Health and Child Care minister, said the two major issues to be discussed at the meeting related to the board’s dissolution and appointment of an interim manager to run the affairs of the society.

On the other hand, acting Health minister Douglas Mombeshora said Psmas’s operating licence was not renewed at the end of 2013 because the society had failed to submit its audited financial accounts.

The decision by government to instruct the Psmas chairperson to hold a special general meeting on Friday, which may result in the board’s dissolution, comes after the parent ministry had said Dube’s former employer was financial unsound.

Comments (13)

The only new thing here is that Zembe is now the Acting Board Chairperson,otherwise he is part of 'Salarygate".For him to now preach about ' robust policies', is to say the least sickening.Why now when all this happened right in your face?

Jubane - 12 February 2014

So what were you doing there Luxon?

james - 12 February 2014

zembe zembe,pse resign and save your skin face.u r talking too much yet you belonged to the same board.u r destroying zpf from psmas.

mukanya - 12 February 2014

Don't tell us all these fancy phrases of "poor mix " this and that. Now you blame the Bunny when you filled your pockets with $100,000 of board fees......kikiki. Nyangwe newewo Luxon..... Am sure you know you are not serious. Thank god I am not on this clown medical aid and empathize with my poor brother and sisters in the public service who have to pay upfront for services when they should do so. We know the same rot is also in CIMAS. am sure they are busy shredding papers ikoko.... Telling members they cannot have 2 emergency visits a year.. Who controls emergencies nhai Mr CIMAS? Thank God I am also not on this clown aid...

Mhofela - 12 February 2014

yes, zembe so what. who are you going to put in now. your fellow zanu friends who are waiting for a chance to loot also.

sammy - 12 February 2014

Ko kuzotadza kunyara samusha? What are you stil doing there? Haunyare here Zembe???

gutter poet - 12 February 2014

Why do they call this guy a corporate governance guru? Where was your personal "integrity and moral authority" when you were earning almost $100K in 2013 for being on the board? Zanu people have no shame.

Lt General - 12 February 2014

To me, this is collapse of good governance of the state itself, propelled by ZANU PF itself.Who was supposed to monitor these parastatals in the first place? Who appointed these looters, and retained or recycled them over and over again? And who recycles the same ministers, some of them accused of looting grain, exporting fertilisers, grabbing multi ple farms? If only this probe can include publishing all beneficiaries of the land reform program, we will be shocked to see some with 5-10 farms.....food for thought. Hove inotanga kuora musoro.

Senior Editor - 12 February 2014

vatengesi taiponda nematanda sewe zembe mese mamunyari here varume vakuru

jairosi keke - 13 February 2014

Zembe I used to respect you as a thoroughbred technocrat.Now I am not sure about who you really are.What were you doing all along at PSMAS,apart from earning for yourself an inflated board member fee? You are the last person to preach to us about good corporate governance, when you were a major beneficiary of ill gotten lucre.Where are your morals man? Why don't you just resign and restore your integrity?

tmutekwe - 13 February 2014

Cuthbert we want our money. pay it back just like zacheus the tax collector. You know you still have it, you are old and the years are numbered, do the correct thing because The God of TB Joshua is watching you. Zembe take off your hands from the board, dont try to be nice, get out of our way. Dont try to be clever by half, we are not fools!Whoever has called off the AGM is, he or she part of the corruption! We want the truth. taneta kubirwa takatarisa!

think - 13 February 2014

The finance minister is worried of slow cash flows! No need to worry, b4 you ask tax man, go and collect our revenue back to the govt coffers from Cuthbert Dube, Hapison and others. After that you ,will be able to pay us because from the (1) month salary of$250 000.00 you can pay 2500 civil servants @$100 increment.From the whole year salary you can pay us all. How about if it is collected from all parastatal leaders who were paid above board,The minister must not crack his head when we have the cash with us in the country. Do things correct. Take back our money from zembe, charamba and others. you only need guts, but thats why you are in office. Vakubatsirei Mwari kutirongerawo hurongwa huri honest!

think - 13 February 2014

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