Perm secs booted from parastatal boards

HARARE - Government has barred permanent secretaries from sitting on boards of State enterprises in the wake of the Salarygate scandal.

This comes amid revelations by the Daily News that three government bureaucrats sat on the beleaguered  Premier Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas) main board and a committee, which approved Cuthbert Dube’s mega perks, which included a $320 000 basic salary, $50 000 travel allowance per trip and another $20 000 for his partner, unlimited fuel and free medical aid including 24-hour guards for his two northern suburb properties, maids, two chefs and gardeners and two drivers.

Touted as a move to improve corporate governance, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, who chairs the Cabinet Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals,  told Parliament on Tuesday the move was part of recommendations made after President Robert Mugabe’s Office and Cabinet received a comprehensive preliminary report covering all State enterprises, parastatals and local authorities.

This comes amid revelations that feisty government spin-doctor George Charamba, who is also permanent secretary in the ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services — along with three other top government officials, including Higher Education permanent secretary Constance Chigwamba, Meiie Nemasasu and Public Service Commission staffer Pretty Sunguro — racked thousands of dollars from the scandal-hit group and its associate companies, as they took home a staggering $1 million in allowances last year, as fresh details of the alleged plunder at the institution emerged.

In explaining the mechanisms of how the former chief executive’s remuneration package was arrived at, Charamba said the issue was mainly driven by the Zimbabwe Football Association president and a string of ex-chairpersons in line with a 60-year-old tradition or arrangement at the society.

“So essentially that whole matter was set between three persons, one interested, two who are in fact usurping the role of the board; that was the practice as it existed from the 1950s as we found it and culpably as we allowed it to continue. This is where I would plead guilty a thousand times,” Charamba said.

He said he did not approve the chief executive’s salary saying it was always the “two chairpersons not the whole board, but to the extent that I should have challenged that.”

Chinamasa threw down the gauntlet on Tuesday, announcing a ban on all permanent secretaries from boards of all State enterprises. He said it was Cabinet decision arrived at this week.

“No permanent secretary should be a member of a public enterprise board, but that ministers should appoint appropriately qualified and experienced persons from their ministries to sit through deliberations of the board and to report to the ministry the gist of the board’s deliberations,” Chinamasa told Parliament.

“Mr Speaker, Sir, with regards to the chief executive officers appointment and performance, Cabinet has decided that CEOs and other senior management in State enterprises, parastatals and heads of local authorities be put on performance contracts.

“CEOs should enter into four-year employment contracts which may be renewable once. The contracts should clearly spell out the minimum requirements which, if not met, should constitute grounds for termination of service,” he said.

While government was  working on coming up with an appropriate remuneration policy framework for State enterprise bosses, long-term measures and processes to redress the state of malaise that has given rise to widespread media reports about corrupt salaries and allowances in most State enterprises, parastatals and local authorities, was being worked out, the Finance minister told the National Assembly.

“Subsequent measures will be taken to deal with the more complex issues of salaries, allowances and procurement practices of public enterprises and local authorities,” Chinamasa said.

Comments (2)

So what happens to the money already stollen? Are theae people going to be let just like that and what will like minded people from corruption? Cry The Beloved Country.

Ziziharinanyanga - 6 March 2014

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