PREMIER Services Medical Aid Society (Psmas) has demanded to be reimbursed US$1,2 million by former chief executive Cuthbert Dube for money he allegedly drew from the company without authorisation, including funds he channelled to the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa).
The health insurer is also demanding that Dube surrenders a house in Harare’s Glen Lorne suburb which he is accused of buying using the organisation’s funds.
This comes as the Zimbabwe Independent understands that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is carrying out investigations to establish if Dube prejudiced the health insurer.
Dube was fired three years ago after his hefty salary and perks sparked public outrage. He was taking home about US$500 000 per month in salary and allowances at a time the company was struggling.
Psmas board chair Jeremiah Bvirindi said the matter regarding Psmas’ demands would soon be taken to court although Dube is already aware of the demands being made.
“He is aware of the demands made by Psmas for what we perceive as unjust enrichment pointing to improper conduct as the then chief group executive that severely prejudiced the society and the impact of which is being felt by the subscribers,” Bvirindi said.
Asked about the Zacc investigations and when Psmas will conclude its own investigations, Bvirindi said: “It is true, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission obtained a search warrant and Psmas has since submitted everything to them but I am not privy to how far they have gone with the matter.”
Documents in the possession of the Independent show that Psmas has been trying to get a refund from Dube since September last year.
Through its lawyers, Psmas wrote to Dube on September 6 demanding the money and the house.
“Our client instructs that while you were in its employ, you wrongfully and fraudulently caused the purchase and transfer of the property commonly called No. 5 Barrington Close, Glen Lorne, into your name when it had been identified and paid for by the society.” reads the letter written by Muzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana legal practitioners on behalf of Psmas.
Psmas also demanded from Dube cash amounting to US$1,2 million.
“Our client also instructs that during the time you were in its employ, you claimed and received varying sums of money, purportedly as reimbursements for medical expenses you had incurred,” the letter reads.
According to the ongoing Psmas investigations, Dube is said to have not submitted any documents to support those claims.
“Our client’s investigations show that those claims were non-existent and therefore fraudulent,” the document reveals.
“So far, our client has unearthed no less than 35 of such instances, whereby the prejudice to the society is US$947 569. Our client is entitled to recover such prejudice from you and in that regard we are instructed to demand from you that the said sum, failing which legal proceedings will be instituted for the recovery of the sum, interest and costs.”
Psmas also wants Dube to pay back money he allegedly channelled to Zifa which had nothing to do with the health insurer.
“It is common knowledge that our client is not involved, directly or indirectly, in the affairs of football administration in Zimbabwe. Our client instructs that while you were in its employ, you fraudulently accessed and withdrew sums of money for use on your trips as a football administrator,” reads the letter.
“To date our client has unearthed instances of such fraudulent withdrawals amounting to US$285 000.”
In his response through his lawyers Venturas and Samukange, Dube dismissed the demands, saying Psmas has to familiarise themselves with his contract.
“We have been handed a copy of your letter addressed to Cuthbert Dube. We were surprised and taken aback that you sought to deal with our client directly when you know very well that we represent the said Dube,” reads the letter dated September 19.
“Our client’s instruction is that it is quite clear you are not familiar with his contract of employment especially as to what benefits he was entitled to.
“Our client denies that he has done any wrong or anything unlawful which is prejudicial to the society. We suggest that you familiarise yourselves with the terms and conditions of his employment.”
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Psmas board blocked the payment of a hefty exit package to Dube which he was awarded after retiring in 2012 before being rehired.
Documents at hand show that on May 15 2012 Psmas approved an exit package which included full maintenance of two vehicles for five years. The maintenance included fuel, repairs or service and comprehensive insurance cover and any other costs associated with the roadworthiness of a vehicle.
“In the event of the current group chief executive being offered a consultancy contract by the group, the group chief executive officer shall be entitled to full entertainment allowance including purchase of entertainment cards from the Meikles, the Sheraton (now Rainbow Towers), Rainbow group, Zimsun (now African Sun) and the Cresta group,” reads the document.
Dube’s exit package to be paid over five years included the privilege of employment of two domestic workers (one cook and one gardener) fully paid for by the group; fully paid utility bills for two residential properties; 24-hour security cover at two of his residential properties; a personal driver and one personal assistant whose salaries and benefits shall be paid by the group.
“The group chief executive shall be entitled to holiday allowances of two international holiday destinations per annum, three regional holiday destinations per annum and quarterly local holiday destinations per annum.”
For all the holiday allowances, the former group chief executive was entitled to business class tickets including that of his spouse or partner. He was also entitled to the organisation’s most superior scheme or plan on a non-contributory basis and with all shortfalls being met by Psmas including for his spouse or partner.
Dube, according to the exit package, was to have his telephone and three cellphone bills paid for by Psmas; US$1000 groceries monthly and a house.