Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa says the government has started rationalizing structures and salaries at the troubled Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS).
A remuneration and forensic audit has been launched by a six-member team put in place to replace the board which dissolved itself following a salary scandal involving board members and the company’s top management.
Briefing parliament’s health committee on measures the government is taking to clean-up the medical insurance company, Parirenyatwa said the team, led by the principal director for preventive services in his ministry, Gibson Mhlanga, has begun its work and will present its findings to the annual general meeting where a new board will be appointed.
Mhlanga said all those found guilty of abusing the system and awarding themselves hefty packages at the expense of service delivery will be prosecuted. The minister said the government is also in the process of setting a regulatory authority for all medical aid societies in the country.
Although he could not provide the new PSMAS salary schedule, Parirenyatwa said the salaries had been drastically reduced.
The minister’s statements may pacify some PSMAS members who were miffed by reports that former chief executive Cuthbert Dube was earning millions of dollars annually at their expense.
While commending government efforts in sorting out the mess at PSMAS, Coalition Against Corruption director Terry Mutsvanga said the process is painfully slow.
Dube was fired by the PSMAS board after it merged that he was earning half a million dollars monthly in salaries and other perks while the company failed to pay service providers and other suppliers.
The board that was led by Meise Namasasu dissolved itself in shame after it emerged they were also pocketing huge sums of money in board fees.
Asked whether the six-member team would enforce the $6,000 salary scale for chief executive officers of parastatals and state enterprises, Parirenyatwa said though the PSMAS is not a parastatal, it would be ideal for it to follow cabinet guidelines.
He said it is unacceptable for PSMAS managers to earn millions of dollars with members on the other hand failing to access services as a result of its failure to pay service providers.
PSMAS acting chief executive officer, Farai Muchena, told the same committee a few weeks ago that since he took over from Dube, the health insurance company has been paying service providers and other suppliers $8 million monthly.
He added PSMAS hopes to have cleared its $38 million debt in the next few months.
Most bosses of state enterprises who were earning high salaries and allowances were not being taxed.
Some of them were getting more than $300,000 per month while workers were not being paid.