THE battle to control the country’s biggest medical aid society, PSMAS, has reached a crescendo, with indications that all parties involved in this battle for supremacy are digging in.
The ongoing battle involves leaders of the Public Service Association (PSA), and the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Unions (ZCPSTU), the defunct PSMAS board, PSMAS and the government through the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Insiders from within PSMAS have since blamed members from the old board members and union leaders for trying to derail the ongoing Forensic Audit by the regulator saying they fear the investigations might expose skeletons in the their closets since some of the players involved were previously implicated in a scandal that almost crippled PSMAS.
Some of the union leaders have a terrible history and they were part of the salary gate. How then can they negotiate on anything to do with PSMAS. They have so much to lose from this audit that is why they are trying as much as they can to ensure the audit does not happen,” said an insider.
Some of the PSMAS board members have claimed existence of caucuses within the board arguing that the board ceased to play its fiduciary role describing it as dysfunctional. PSMAS board chairman, Dr Jeremiah Bvirindi has been accused of enjoying benefits way beyond those spelt out in best corporate governance practices.
However, speaking to HealthTimes in an interview, Dr Bvirindi blamed the regulator (government) for cancelling the Annual General Meeting (AGM) which he said would have seen them handing over reigns to a new board.
“Our term of office as a board expired last year on June 24, 2021. We are however operating within the confines of the PSMAS constitution. We are still there but not all of us are there voluntarily now but we feel legitimacy issues can also haunt us.
“However, because of that constitution, we still want to have the AGM done and that will be the end of our term of office. I surely don’t know where the problem is coming from. There is no issue there, it’s all about following the constitution that is that. Section 9 (21) is what is guiding us,” said Dr Bvirindi.
He added that they have other commitments to pursue elsewhere but due to the decision by the regulator to postpone the AGM, they were now forced to stick around for a while.
“We want the AGM to happen as soon as possible. My term of office has since expired, why are they are continuously postponing these AGMs.”
Health and Child Minister, Dr Constantino Chiwenga recently announced plans to commence an audit following allegations that PSMAS was diverting member’s funds to non-core business such as mining and microfinance. The forensic audit has since started with entries from 2018 up to date under scrutiny.
It is also alleged that government is yet to renew PSMAS’s licence and the organisation has been operating without a licence since the beginning of the year.
Meanwhile, Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ) Secretary General, Raymond Majongwe said government should allow members to choose their directors, management as well as choose the direction of PSMAS without interference.
“As a Union, we believe that it is necessary for the Management of PSMAS to step aside and allow independent auditors to do a forensic audit of the organisation and its operations. We also strongly believe that government should allow this audit to happen without interference and what we get therefrom should be for the benefit of members of PSMAS.
“We advise all members to remain alert and patiently wait for results of the audit. Members should endeavour to attend the AGM that will be called so as to defend their ownership, integrity and good corporate governance of PSMAS,” said Majongwe.
He added that government has no business seeking to upend and takeover the running of the organisation.