Brian Chitemba Investigations Editor SUNDAYMAIL
Premier Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas) has splurged a staggering US$500 000 on luxury vehicles for the managing director Engineer Tendai Kapumha and three other top executives at a time when members are being denied medical access by doctors.
Workers’ salaries were also cut last year due to financial constraints.
Psmas has long been struggling to pay service providers with indications that the company owes about US$300 million.
However, despite the precarious financial situation at the once vibrant medical aid society which boasts of around 800 000 members, Psmas bosses last week took delivery of brand new top-of-the-range Mercedes Benz and Land Rover Discovery and the latest Ford Everest— all valued at an estimated US$540 000.
Apart from deplorable services, Psmas also slashed workers’ salaries by 20 percent before suspending all the allowances. In stark contrast to the financial status of the company, the bosses pampered themselves with the latest luxury vehicles, thereby literally driving the firm to ruins.
Investigations by The Sunday Mail unearthed that Engineer Kapumha was allocated a GL350 Mercedes Benz which is priced at US$180 000 at a local car dealer, Ms Regina Tendai who is head of human resources was pampered with the 2017 edition of Ford Everest while Margret Zirambe (head of information technology) and Mr Marshal Mashavave (head of finance and administration) were each given a Land Rover Discovery valued at around US$120 000 each. The Psmas board chair Mr Jeremiah Bvirindi was given a brand new pick up truck.
The executives joined Psmas last year at a time when they were expected to turnaround the fortunes of the company which has been embroiled in a salary scandal where former group chief executive Mr Cuthbert Dube earned about US$500 000 per month.
Five top executives namely, head of communications and stakeholder relations Ms Mavis Gumbo, head of marketing Mrs Anna Mtengwa Mangwiro, Mr Richard Mutasa (head of risk and audit), company secretary Mr Cosmas Mukwesha and head of managed care, Dr Nicholas Munyonga, were recently suspended over allegations of siphoning millions of dollars through bonuses paid outside the payroll.
Engineer Kapumha’s luxury vehicle purchase come at a time when he slashed workers’ salaries.
In a letter dated August 26, 2016, the Psmas boss announced the suspension of allowances.
He wrote, “Having considered among other things, the following (a) the society’s current financial performance, (b) the general macro-economic environment prevailing in the country, (c) the collective bargaining agreement for the relevant employment council, (d) a comparison of salaries obtaining at the society with those obtaining on the market generally; the society took a decision to review salaries and benefits for its employees resulting in the following terms and conditions being applicable to you with effect from 1st September 2016: housing allowance, fuel allowance, school fees, motor vehicle benefit/allowance – all suspended.”
Engineer Kapumha added that Psmas engaged a financial advisor to counsel staff on debt management.
“You are free to access the said financial advisor at no cost to yourself, once you are notified of the date,” he said.
Psmas spokesman Mr Arthur Choga could not confirm the acquisition of the vehicles saying he “was yet to speak to Engineer Kapumha”.