OPPOSITION MDC-T MPs yesterday called on government to investigate circumstances under which Health minister David Parirenyatwa claimed an advance payment of $77 000 from the financially-struggling Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) through his private firm, Chest, in May 2014.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE / Garikai Tunhira
This came as Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare deputy minister, Tapiwa Matangaidze told Parliament that “it’s not government policy that a person gets such money under such circumstances”.
Matangaidze made the remarks after he was quizzed by MDC-T MPs, Fani Munengami and Prosper Mutseyami to explain if government had instituted investigations into the matter.
“But again, Mr Speaker Sir, we would want to get facts correct — whether it’s true that the minister did receive the said money or not. I would appeal to the honourable member to put his question in writing so that we could investigate more and get responses,” Matangaidze said.
Although Parirenyatwa last week defended the transaction, saying it was common practice in the medical fraternity, he has come under fire from some local doctors’ associations who accused him of abusing his public office for personal benefit.
Matangaidze also told the House that it was unfortunate that some PSMAS subscribers had already taken government to court over its intervention to save the medical aid society.
“It’s retrogressive for people to drag government to court over the decision to intervene at PSMAS. We want to bring stability at the organisation and this needs support,” he said, as the opposition bench kept quizzing him to indicate whether Parirenyatwa would be investigated.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda later intervened and ordered the legislators to stop discussing the matter, as it was already before the courts.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) called on Parirenyatwa to resign over the issue.
“Public officers such as ministers are public servants and their mandate as entrusted to them by members of the public is to provide public services for the public good,” ZADHR executive director Calvin Fambirai said in a statement.
“Any public official implicated in corruption and shady dealings must resign in order to restore the public’s trust in the health delivery system. We are, therefore, dismayed at the culture of impunity that has pervaded public office bearers and lament its evidence within the health sector.”
Early this week, Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association president, Fortune Nyamande also made similar demands.
Parirenyatwa could not be reached for comment yesterday, while his ministry spokesperson, Donald Mujiri said he was not at liberty to discuss the matter.
“It can only be him (Parirenyatwa) to comment on such issues. He is outside the country, but he should be back since we have a function at St Giles tomorrow (today) and he is expected to attend,” he said yesterday.