Govt in witch-hunt: Psmas board

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PREMIER Service Medical Aid Society

BY PROBLEM MASAU
PREMIER Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas) board members have accused government of witch-hunting by using the Regulator of Medical Aid Societies (RMAS) to conduct a forensic audit on the service provider.

Vice-President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga in May announced that “RMAS has informed both government and Psmas board that it has ordered a forensic audit of Psmas in order to satisfy itself that the society is operating properly and in keeping with its mandate”.

However, board members opposed to the forensic audit accused government of trying to determine the outcome of the audit through choosing the person to head the audit and paying that person for the services.

“It is part of the grand plan to impose their (government) proposals on the company. The secretary in the Ministry of Health Jasper Chimedza is leading the audit, but he is also an interested party. He has his own private practice that deals directly with the company. He is our service provider, so he cannot be partial,” Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (formerly Apex Council) secretary David Dzatsunga, who is one of the board members, told NewsDay.

Dzatsunga said the dossier which triggered the forensic audit originated from the Public Service Commission, in what he described as a well-calculated move by government to take over Psmas.

“Government removed three board members and replaced them with high-ranking officials who came with a mandate to take over Psmas. We have been resisting them and now they are on a witch-hunt,” he said.

Public Service Commissioner Tendai Choruma denied that government wanted to take over the company and accused other board members of being activists.

“Some members of the Psmas board appear to have become conflicted as they have launched a puzzling activism that claims that government, which extends significant funding to its employees to support their access to healthcare through the Psmas card, and which has injected $5,2 billion into Psmas since January 2022, intends to ‘take over’ Psmas,” he said.

Choruma accused other board members of trying to deflect attention from core Psmas issues through “ill-conceived posturing”.

This came as two factions, comprising members seconded to the Psmas board by government on one hand and those from civil servants unions, are involved in fights to control the medical aid society, the largest in the country.

Meanwhile, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) yesterday said Psmas management should step aside to allow for the forensic audit by RMAS.

In a statement, PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said: “As a union, we believe it is necessary for the management of Psmas to step aside and allow for independent auditors to do a forensic audit of the organisation and its operations. We strongly believe that government should allow this audit to happen without interference and that whatever the outcome that we get therefrom should be for the benefit of members of Psmas.”

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