George Charamba Helps Himself to US$228 000 Medical Aid Funds

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President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba, a former board member of Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS),  received US$228 278 between 2009 and 2013 in board fees and allowances contrary to reports that he had received US$100 000 from the organisation, it has been reported.


According to an Ernst and Young forensic investigation on the use of PSMAS  funds draft report 2015 addressed to the PSMAS interim manager Gibson Mhlanga, a total of US$2 438 000 was spent on PSMAS board directors’ remuneration.

George Charamba

Charamba in 2009 received US$4 875 as board fees and allowances. In 2010 he received US$16 475, in 2011 US$34 166, in 2012 US$62 865 and in 2013 he was paid US$109 897.

George Chaburuka, who received US$558 163 in total, was the highest paid board member followed by Meisie Namasasu who earned US$451 484 and Newton Mhlanga who was paid US$364 505.

Last year Charamba claimed that he was the least paid person on the board yet he was in fact one of the highest remunerated well above his annual salary as a civil servant.

Charamba served in a number of key board committees, including the finance and budget and another on benefits for top executives.

He was, therefore, expected to know the financial goings-on and remunerations at PSMAS, which was in deep financial trouble and was owing creditors US$119 million.

Efforts to get comment from Charamba over the past two weeks were futile as his mobile phone went unanswered and did not respond to questions sent to him.

The report states that the total remuneration payments for the Psmas board directors comprised monthly retainer fees, fuel allowances, debit card deposits, full board sitting allowances and committee sitting allowances.

The report also states that the PSMAS constitution states that a director or committee member shall be paid attendance fees or allowances as the board may, from time to time, determine.

Other board members then included Cuthbert Dube, Constance Chigwamba, Pretty Sunguro, Moses Mthombeni, Luxon Zembe, Cosmas Mukwesha, Ernest Gwinyai, Annah Mutengwa, Nicholas Munyonga, Richard Mutasa and Juliana Sabarauta.

Board of directors benefits included attendance fees, overnight allowance, out of pocket allowance, medical shortfalls, travel allowance, holiday allowance, membership subscriptions for two recreational clubs, business cards, fuel, NMB debit cards, retainer allowance and society vehicles.

The board was also entitled to death benefits which consist of the most executive coffin on the market, transportation to burial place, respected and dignified coffins for spouses as well as transportation for them to place of burial.

For attendance fees, the board committee chairman and his deputy received US$980, board directors and committee members each received US$700 per meeting attended, US$60 for overnight allowance and out of pocket allowance.

The board chairman was also entitled to a five-day international holiday at US$700 per day, a five-day regional holiday at US$500 per day and a five-day local holiday at US$500 per day. The deputy chair was entitled to a four-day regional holiday at US$400 per day and two, four-day local holidays at US$400 per day.

Board members were entitled to two local three-day holidays at US$300 per day.

In total, PSMAS board fees and allowances reached US$2 437 966.

PSMAS and its subsidiary Premier Service Medical Aid Investment splurged about US$9 million on luxury motor vehicles between 2009 and 2013 for its executives.

In all, PSMAS executives received US$86,9 million in salaries, bonuses and allowances between 2009 and 2013 at a time the company owed creditors US$119 million and was struggling to pay its workers.

The report says Dube, his driver, two secretaries, and 11 executives shared US$22 888 281,28 outside the payroll between 2012 and 2013. The executives also shared US$24 million in allowances and US$7 million in bonuses through the payroll.