Legal battle erupts over Mandishona

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A LEGAL battle has erupted between Premier Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas) and its former Managing Director (MD) Henry Mandishona as Psmas has rejected orders by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to reinstate him.

Hazel Ndebele

Instead Psmas wants Mandishona to pay the medical aid US$400 000 which they claim he owes. Psmas also wants him to surrender the society’s Mercedes Benz E300 currently in his possession.

Mandishona was suspended in September before being fired in November last year over corruption charges and allegations of unilaterally changing his contract among other charges.

Mandishona, however, took the matter to the Labour Court which on January 29 dismissed charges against him and ruled that “the claimant is entitled to reinstatement back to his position without loss of pay and benefits”.

On Monday, Mandishona’s lawyers, Atherstone and Cook, wrote to Psmas board chairman Jeremiah Bvirindi demanding that the medical aid society reinstate their client.

“As you will note, the operative part of the determination dismisses allegations levelled against our client and entitles him to reinstatement without loss of pay and benefits. This effectively renders your internal proceedings a nullity,” wrote the lawyers.

“We advice therefore that, our client is very eager to return to work and as such he shall report for duty on Tuesday 2nd February 2016. May you kindly make the necessary arrangements to accommodate him.”

Psmas lawyers, Muzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana legal practitioners wrote back to Mandishona’s lawyers the same day indicating Mandishona would not be reinstated stating he ceased to be a Psmas employee the day he was fired last year.

“Our client’s position remains that Mr Mandishona ceased to be a Psmas employee on the 24th of November 2015,” wrote the lawyers,
“While he is entitled to seek whatever relief from whatever forum, the bottom line, which we are instructed to underline, is that he will not be taken back in whatever capacity, it is as simple as that,” they said.

“We are sure he, and indeed yourselves, do appreciate that our client cannot force relations. It remains for him, surely, to seek alternative relief, assuming he is entitled to any, which our client does not admit.

“Mr Henry Mandishona will therefore not be allowed back at Psmas and any attempts by him to force his way into our client’s premises will be met with the necessary sanction.”

Mandishona did not report for duty on Tuesday but his lawyers wrote to Psmas indicating he will return when Psmas advises him.

On December 7, the Psmas board had written to Mandishona advising him he owed the medical aid society US$393 405 and asked him to indicate how he intends to pay back the money.

The money included salary received during suspension, a housing loan of US$280 000 and a top up on the housing loan of US$76 000 and a US$5 500 vehicle loan.

It is not the first time Mandishona has attempted to bounce back to Psmas. In October last year in a joint statement, Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Priscah Mupfumira reinstated him. He was, however, not taken back by the Psmas board.

Both ministers allegedly have benefitted from Psmas financially.

Psmas, now widely seen as a corporate carcass cornered by political vultures, has been under the spotlight since 2014 after the unceremonious exit of former chief executive Cuthbert Dube amid public anger over a mismatch between obscene salaries for management and its crippling debt.

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