CONTRARY to scandal-ridden Premier Services Medical Aid Society (Psmas) board member, President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba’s claims this week that he was the least paid person on the board, it has emerged he was in fact one of the highest remunerated, getting over US$100 000 — an amount well above his annual salary as a civil servant — during the course of last year.
This comes as it also emerged that Psmas CEO Cuthbert Dube, who was raking in over US$500 000 in disproportionate monthly salaries, benefits and allowances, could have at that rate made US$60 million more had his contract been allowed to run for the 10 years by which it had been extended for last year before he was forced out recently after the salary scandal exploded.
“The Group CEO (Cuthbert) Dube attains the normal retirement age of 60 years on December 31, 2013,” reads the Psmas board chairperson’s letter extending his contract for 10 years.
“Cognisant of the need not to disrupt the operations and also to maintain stability within the organisation, a board committee was put in place to look into the matter and make recommendations. The committee has recommended the extension of tenure of service for Dube for a further 10 years with effect from January 01, 2014.”
But Dube was not the only one making very rich pickings as information obtained by the Zimbabwe Independent this week shows Charamba, who served in a number of key board committees including the one on finance and budget as well as that on benefits for top executives putting him in a clear position to know the financial goings-on and remunerations at Psmas, was also a mega-earner, getting US$10 357,50 in January 2013.
He went on to rake in US$10 207,50 in February, US$8 107,50 in March, US$8 770 in April, US$8 895 in May, US$8 270 in June, US$8 895 in July, US$8 270 in August and September, US$12 190 in October, US$8 270 in November and US$8 895 in December.
This brought his earnings from Psmas board fees to a total of US$109 397,50, suggesting he could not blow the whistle on bloated earnings because he was also heavily benefitting.
As a result Charamba — now caught in a transparency and credibility gap although he has admitted he was “culpable because I didn’t ask the right questions” and “fatally assumed government policy was being followed” — was in fact the fourth highest earner on the eight-member Psmas board.
The highest paid was George Chaburuka who received US$234 546,50 in total, followed by Miesie Namasasu (US$174 062) and Newton Mhlanga (US$130 787,50). Efforts to get comment from Charamba were unsuccessful last night.