FINDINGS from a Premier Service Medical Society (PSMAS) audit have revealed gross embezzlement and mismanagement of contributors’ funds by the company’s top management, the board, health service providers and the disorganization’s affiliates.
By Michael Gwarisa
In 2022, the registrar of Medical Aid Societies ordered a forensic audit into PSMAS, to find out if the medical aid society was not abusing funds by engaging in non-core business. Cases in point include investment in micro-finance, buying and selling of gold, extending society beyond the borders, and creating additional institutions that draw funds from the society’s core business of health care provision.
While this publication is yet to get its hands on the audit report, a statement that has been issued by the government of Zimbabwe shows there is trouble in paradise and heads could roll anytime soon.
A forensic audit conducted on PSMAS and its affiliates in the public interest revealed that between 2018 and July 2022, the organization lost around US$60 million (ZWL60 Billion circa at the current interbank rate) in contributors funds through theft and mismanagement by the board and management at PSMAS, its affiliates, as well as from some unscrupulous suppliers and health service providers,” said the Zimbabwean government in statement.
According to the audit findings, some suppliers and health service providers were engaging in malpractices in connivance with PSMAS Board and Management and its affiliates.
“Further analysis showed that had these funds not been misappropriated, PSMAS should have been n in a position to provide adequate and satisfactory services as expected by its clients.”
Government says it has since taken a number of measures to curb the leakages and corruption at PSMAS. These include availing funds required to pay debts owed by PSMAS and its affiliates, bring all suspects to account for their actions, take all necessary to bring constitutionality and good governance back to PSMAS and its affiliates, bring back PSMAS to its core business and to immediately ensure reopening of PSMAS Health delivery facilities.
“Overally, government will ensure that PSMI and PSMAS are fully functional. It has further come to the attention of the government of Zimbabwe that the phenomenon that has been observed at PSMAS involving abuse and misappropriation of contributors funds, accompanied by high contributory fees not commensurate with the service being provided is also rife in other medical aid societies operating in Zimbabwe,” added government.
Meanwhile, four PSMAS bosses including CEO Farai Muchena and three of his senior subordinates are before the courts on allegations of squandering US$702,386 which was meant for drug purchases after misrepresenting facts to Fidelity Printers in a gold deal, a court heard recently.
Muchena, 54, appeared before Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje jointly charged with Victor Chaipa, 49, Cosmas Mukwesha, 50, and Polite Mugwagwa, 41. Chaipa is PSMAS’ strategy performance executive, Mukwesha group secretary and Mugwagwa the performance manager.