Former Premier Service Medical Aid Society chief executive Cuthbert Dube earned $13 000 a day for five years and at one time in 2012 this went up to $22 500 a day, Bulawayo South Member of Parliament Eddie Cross told Parliament last week.
Introducing a motion in which he called for the prosecution of all those involved in the PSMAS scandal, Cross said: “If you steal a cow worth US$400 from a farmer, you go to jail for a mandatory nine years. We have these people who have been stealing public funds still on the loose, in fact, enjoying their ill gotten gains.”
He said that 11 executives of PSMAS were paid about $119 million in five years, according to a forensic audit of the medical aid society which he said was released in February but had been kept under wraps.
“Mr. Dube, the Chief Executive Officer of that amount drew US$23 million, his salary was US$13 000 a day for the entire period,” he said.
“If we go on, in 2012, Mr. Dube, his secretary and his driver – I mean how bizarre can you get? He included his secretary and his driver in the deal. The three of them drew US$3m, Dube drew US$2.7m in four months, this is US$675 000 a month or US$22 500 a day.
“The other US$300 000 was shared between his secretary and his driver. One looks at this and we ask, what kind of planet does this man live on? During this time he was a very prominent member of our society, he was the head of ZIFA. He remained the head of ZIFA despite these disclosures until very recently when he was kicked into touch by the new Minister.
“Dube’s medical aid claims over the same period of time totaled nearly a million dollars, he claimed US$932 000 in medical expenses in the same period of time pamusoro pesalary.”
But that was not all. Cross said when Dube went on holiday he got a daily allowance of $2 000 for himself and $1 000 for his wife.
“The total amount in 5 years was US$540 000. This is not a joking matter, this is sickening, and it really represents the worst possible example of being prolificate in public affairs that I have ever seen. The total drawn down as travel and subsistence on business in this period by the same individual was US$3.1million dollars.
“I break down some of these additional charges; he drew US$130 000 as travel allowance for his son-in-law and his wife. He took US$300 000 as expenses for ZIFA. He was given cash transfers which he converted later into personal loans for US$770 000. His board fees over this period of time were US$407 000. When finally we succeeded in getting rid of him, he left behind debts – unpaid doctors bills of US$119 million.”
Cross said Dube was not to blame alone because PSMAS was run by a board of directors.
“What was the culpability of the board? I do not understand why there has not been a full public enquiry into this matter? This is not peanuts, this is a huge sum of money, the total budget of this House is US$20m a year, and this scandal involves US$119m. Get that into perspective, I think the total cash allocated to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education this year apart from salaries is US$10 million. This man here used 10 times that during his period of office and nothing is done.”
Cross said another fundamental issue was to establish whether Dube had the authority of the board to draw such a huge salary. If not, this would be a straight forward criminal matter.
The Minister of Health also had to be taken to task over the matter.
“We need to ask ourselves the question, what is the role of the Minister of Health and Child Care in this affair? I was deeply disturbed to discover that the Minister of Health and Child Care has accepted US$100 000 from Dube; US$70 000 of which was in excess of the actual bill that he was due to pay. Was this a bribe? Was this a consideration to the Minister for not taking action on this matter?”
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