Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Premier Service Medical Aid Society is auditing the period suspended managing director Mr Henry Mandishona took office, board chairman Mr Jeremiah Bvirindi has said.
In an interview with The Herald yesterday, Mr Bvirindi said his board became suspicious of Mr Mandishona’s conduct when he withheld certain information required by the board for total transformation.
Though Mr Bvirindi could not shed light on the type of information withheld fearing to jeopardise investigations, inside sources believe it could be about his monthly takings alleged to be way above the ceiling set by the interim management, which was led by Government representative Dr Gibson Mhlanga.
Allegations are that Mr Mandishona could have been earning up to $40 000, almost four times the new salary structure of $11 000 set by the interim management.
Sources said it was obvious to the PSMAS new board that astronomical salaries which led to the ouster of group chief executive Dr Cuthbert Dube who was earning more than $500 000 per month in salary and allowances continued to haunt the medical aid society.
Dr Dube’s management also earned high salaries and allowances which ran into millions. “The major challenge that we have faced as a board was lack of information from the management critical for the successful transformation of PSMAS,” said Mr Bvirindi.
He said his board will remain focused in transforming the society, with a vision to restore its viability and ensure that it regains its status of being the leading health care funder in Zimbabwe.
Mr Bvirindi said this would be done through the board taking control in the running of the society, cost reduction, debt collection and stretch creditors through payment plans.
He said the board will also carry out leadership competency assessment to ensure that management is not part of the problem, but the solution. “There is also need to review the structure, the staff and their mind-sets as some might be living in the past as well as leveraging on technology that enable us detect fraud in view of our huge claims,” said Mr Bvirindi.
He said efforts to redefine the relationship between PSMAS and its investment arm PSMI were at an advanced stage, with work on modalities of operationalising the holding company under way. The holding company is expected to oversee operations of PSMAS, PSMI and investments from outside the country.
“The holding company has since been registered and what is left are modalities to operationalise it without creating top-heavy empires for kingmakers, that is costly for the cash strapped society,” said Mr Bvirindi.
Asked how the board would deal with the $3 million labour suit by Dr Dube, Mr Bvirindi said his board would only find a way forward when the issue is resolved by the courts.
Although Mr Mandishona could not be reached for comment yesterday, his loyalists at the medical aid society claim that he was being victimised for closing doors to corruption, from which some senior management were benefiting.
“The same people who refused to have a forensic audit of PSMI are the same people pushing for his ouster,” said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They are trying to frustrate his efforts in curbing corruption by framing him.”
Unconfirmed reports also indicate that the decision to sent Mr Mandishona on forced leave was done unilaterally without any resolution being passed. “Furthermore, the matter was not even on the agenda of the board meeting,” said the source.
PSMAS is on its path to recovery after a period of decadence, which involved massive abuse of funds and lack of corporate governance. This period saw the society failing to pay service providers on time, resulting in patients on PSMAS failing to access treatment from service providers of their choice.