Cuthbert Dube and the battle against greed


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Around that time, the average monthly CEO salary for America’s top 350 firms was a million dollars.

With his perks added, Dube was playing in the global big money leagues.

Looking at a more recent Bloomberg ranking of companies in 25 of the world’s largest economies – it includes salary, cash bonuses and other benefits – Cuthbert would have been making more money than CEOs in countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, France and Japan, where average annual CEO earnings are below his $6 million.

Remember, Dube was head of medical aid society that was failing to pay doctors to treat members, many of them poor government workers.

Still, ZACC found that Dube had approval for his salary, the insider loans, prime properties and benefits.

“He was alleged to have unlawfully transferred a house in Glen Lorne, Harare, into his name when the said property was bought using PSMAS money,” ZACC was quoted as saying. “Investigations show that it was part of his employment contract that he would be given a house. Again this charge cannot stand.”

Dube plied himself with $796 960 in loans.

All of this was done by the book.

“He indeed applied and received the said loans,” ZACC said.

PSMAS board chairman Jeremiah Bvirindi had criticised Dube’s “unjust enrichment pointing to improper conduct”.

But Dube’s contract “entitled him to access personal loans twelve times his monthly salary. His salary was $236 000 per month and he could access a loan 12 times that figure,” ZACC tells us.

All this shows that outrage is nothing unless supported by strong regulation.

Executives will take as much as they can, as long as they are allowed to.

The problem was not that Dube was making so much money, but that he was being authorised to do so.

That Dube, heading an inefficient medical aid fund that can’t pay for its members’ medical care, was earning five times more than Adrian Gore, head of Discovery, SA’s largest and most profitable medical aid provider, shows how poor we are at checking greed.

A third of the contributions of PSMAS members was going into paying the salaries of its top 15 executives.

It was only after public outrage that Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced that state enterprises would cap CEO salaries at $6 000 per month.

“We’re not going to allow them to continue a day longer (being paid that much),” Chinamasa said at the time.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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