Former Premier Services Medical Aid Society chief executive Cuthbert Dube is now known as the Thief Executive of PSMAS, Shamva South Member of Parliament Joseph Mapiki says.
In his contribution to the PSMAS scandal debate, Mapiki said it was a shame that if one was caught with a gram of gold worth only $22 one was given a sentence of five years in jail, or if found with a twist of marijuana you went to jail for five months, yet Dube who had siphoned millions from the medical aid society was scot free.
Dube earned more than $500 000 a month at PSMAS and enjoyed a wide range of allowances which even covered his daughter and son-in-law.
Bulawayo South legislator Eddie Cross introduced a motion calling on those involved in the PSMAS scandal to be brought to book.
He said 11 executives of the society earned more than $119 million between 2009 and 2013.
Board members were also paid hefty allowances with the highest paid, a civil servant, walking away with more than $500 000 in sitting allowances.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Cross for the motion that he has moved in this House which deeply concerns us. I was looking at a situation whereby we now have 34 000 war veterans. They get a pension of US$100.00 monthly, countrywide. If we are to add it, it comes to about US$340 000.00 but when we went for the liberation struggle, we said we wanted fair distribution of resources. From 1980/1983, if we are to look at individuals, we realise that a person will never be able to earn that US$500 000.00 that was earned by Cuthbert Dube. He is now known as the Thief Executive of PSMAS, not the Chief Executive. So, I am looking at a situation whereby we sat down and we wanted Commissions like Anti-Corruption and others, but up to date, no one has been brought to book.
If we look at the departments of Home Affairs such as ZRP and CID, there are no issues that have been investigated. From the constituency where I come from, if a person is caught with just a gram of gold that is worth US$22.00, he is given a sentence of five years but Cuthbert Dube who has stolen from the people, because the Constitution says that the Government is there to protect the Constitution, he is taking US$500 000.00 but nothing has been done. Anyone found with a twist of marijuana is given five months in jail, but on the issue of Cuthbert Dube and the money that he embezzled from PSMAS, he is still walking scot free. What I am saying is that we need to interrogate this legislation and fast-track it for people to be arrested.
We looked at the issue of Rwanda. Rwanda was involved in genocide and was given sanctions but from the time the sanctions were removed, it has done very well because it has managed to fight the issues of corruption. Here in Zimbabwe, it is just a talk shore and that is what is affecting us. I agree with Hon. Nyanhongo who said we need to act now. The action is not taking place because if the Minister is benefitting from PSMAS, he cannot take action. If a magistrate is conducting my case, there is no way that he will give me a prison sentence because probably he is a tenant in my house. Even if it is a policeman who is lodging in my house, he cannot arrest me because I am his landlord. So, the way we are fighting corruption is a challenge.
What we see is that those engaging in corruption and who should apprehend corrupt individuals are the ones engaged I corruption. My proposal is that on the issue of child marriages, we say that a person who benefits lobola from early child marriages should be arrested. So, what we are saying is that anyone who benefits from corruption should be brought to book. If that person is a Minister, he should be arrested as soon as possible. For him to be a Minister is not an opportunity. I represent people who would want to see such corrupt people arrested. If other countries have managed, for example in China two weeks ago, one of the elite who was engaged in corruption was killed. When we bring the issues about the elite who engage in corrupt activities, they are not arrested. Someone who is a nobody like me is quickly brought to book. So, what I think is that this issue should be investigated.
The issue of Board of Directors that should be approved by the Ministers has created problems because the Ministers are now taking their puppets to become Board of Directors. So, for them to interrogate such issues, it becomes impossible. I agree with Hon. Chibaya that Board of Directors should not be chosen by Ministers so as to do away with nepotism whereby you have all the museyamwas becoming Board of Directors. That is an issue that we are also looking into and this is an issue that deeply concerns us because nothing is being done.
The issue of corruption is a challenge because even at the Anti-Corruption Commission, it also needs to be interrogated. There was an issue that fuel was stolen there but nothing has been done. Hon. Cross has looked at the issue of PSMAS but I want to extend it to all Government departments. It is being talked about that in Councils, monies are being collected and yet there were circulars that were written to ensure that Chief Executive Officers do not get a lot of money. Where are the people who should be arresting such people? I think we should propose that if a Minister heads a government department for example, if it is the Council, if the Executive is earning a lot of money and yet the circular has been sent, the Minister should be arrested because there is no enforcement of the law taking place, this has become a menace.
If we look at the issue of the budget, we went to Victoria Falls and we were told that the wage bill is taking 87%. When we asked ourselves as to why we went and spent money in Victoria Falls to discuss just 13% – because 87% is going towards wages. As Parliament, we also need to be given powers to ensure that we take measures to address this issue, not just Cuthbert Dube but all those who have been engaged in corrupt activities. Under Air Zimbabwe, we heard that something was done but now there seems to be a regression. If we behave in this way we are not going anywhere as a nation. So, my request is that once we decide that this should be done, let us do it and take action. I thank you.