The Member of Parliament for Shamva South Joseph Mapiki has asked why former Premier Medical Aid Society chief executive Cuthbert Dube has not been arrested when an investigation by the auditor general found that he had a case to answer.
Dube allegedly awarded himself a hefty salary of over $13 000 a day when the medical aid society owed millions of dollars to doctors and its members were being denied treatment because of its arrears.
“We remember the Premier Service Medical Aid saga, Mr. Dube who was the Chief Executive officer was supposed to be arrested and convicted. The Auditor and Comptroller General, Mrs. Chiri, did make any investigation and found that he had a case to answer. There was a prima facie case but this was not taken up and we wonder what will happen next,” Mapiki said.
Another legislator John Holder of Zvishavane Ngezi had asked earlier why Dube was scot-free after squandering millions of dollars while poor people were being denied treatment.
Mapiki and Holder were contributing to the debate on doctors who have announced that they will start asking for cash from medical aid card holders from 1 July because they are owed $200 million by the societies.
Legislators have asked the Minister of Health to intervene but one MP said he did not see the minister doing so because he was involved in a shady deal with PSMAS.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, the situation in the country is what is referred to as organised chaos. The organised chaos starts from people who are importing medication. India and South Africa are promising us cheap medication, but it is the people who decide on the procurement of medicine, they select whatever it is they want. They deny medication from South Africa or India to come into the country. What we want is that there should be a clearance of these medications for our benefit but it takes time for this medication to be cleared at the border until it expires there. We have organisations which are in this country, which are employing people and are deducting monies from employees but fail to remit it to Premier Service Medical Aid Society.
Mr. Speaker Sir, they would rather get that money and give it to the leadership of the company. They do not care about the lower grades but the Chief Executives are paid as much as US$9 000 at the expense of the poor worker. Some organisations are also buying or constructing expensive buildings instead of giving service to workers. This is also happening in parastatals where the Chief Executives are paying themselves handsomely, nobody cares about the lowest paid worker.
The monies which are remitted again to Premier Service, the Executives again are paid obscenely high salaries and this results in the denial of paying the service provider. Hence, the doctors end up complaining because nobody remits those monies to the doctors who have provided the service. Hence, I urge Government to come to the assistance of the public.
In the past when somebody was a doctor, we knew they had to take an oath and were very dedicated. The recruitment depended on the calling but what is happening at the moment is that people are taking medicine career just for the sake of getting money disadvantaging the people. What we are saying is, if Government is going to allow these doctors to say they are not going to treat people, it will be to the disadvantage of these other organisations. They will come and say they want to hold the country to ransom because it has started from afar, hence there is need to cut this at its root before it grows up.
We remember the Premier Service Medical Aid saga, Mr. Dube who was the Chief Executive officer was supposed to be arrested and convicted. The Auditor and Comptroller General, Mrs. Chiri, did make any investigation and found that he had a case to answer. There was a prima facie case but this was not taken up and we wonder what will happen next. When these doctors will be providing services to the people, they will be giving services and will have the medication at times because you are paying cash. Medicine will be at a lower price but if you had to buy cash, the cost will be higher. Now, they are saying they will not treat people when they come with medical aid cards. What is happening?
Mr. Speaker Sir, the consultation fee is US$100 to be given a prescription. When you want to get that medication, you are advised to go to a pharmacy and buy on your own but you ask that doctor, where does this US$100 consultation fee comes from. Can you make a breakdown, they cannot explain but the same doctors are now saying if you do not have cash upfront, there is no treatment. We have no money at the banks. People had monies deducted from their salaries to Premier Service but the monies were used for different purposes. This will lead to the death of people. Suppose Hon. Maridadi dies because he has not received medical attention; when we have electricity or water problems, we should prioritise somebody’s health and not prioritise paying our water and electricity bills.
We have problems with the calibre of our doctors, they need to be re-examined. We are calling for a statement from the powers that be because if we do not do that, very soon there will be chaos, each organisation holding the country to ransom. I thank you.