PSMAS executives ‘steal’ money to buy gold

Harare Magistrates Court

FOUR Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) bosses appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court yesterday on allegations of stealing US$702 386 from the company.

Farai Muchena (54), Victor Chaipa (49), Cosmas Mukwesha (50) and Polite Mugwagwa (41) appeared before magistrate Stanford Mambanje charged with theft.

Muchena is the chief executive officer, Chaipa (group strategy performance executive), Mukwesha (group secretary) and Mugwagwa, the performance manager.

The four were remanded in custody to today for bail application.

It is the State’s case that sometime in 2020, the PSMAS board passed a resolution to venture into gold trade.

It was resolved that staff from its procurement department were to act as buyers and agents for buying the gold on behalf of PSMAS.

It is alleged that on February 18, 2021, PSMAS handed over these projects of gold buying, cannabis growing and micro finance business to Premier Service Holding Company to enable them to focus on their core business of health insurance. 

On July 13, 2021, Muchena allegedly sent a memo to the complainant’s principal officer requesting funding for the gold project which had been taken over from PSMAS. 

The funding amounted to US$237 794, with US$108 674 as pre-trading funding.

Muchena advised PSMAS about the formation of a company named Claydust solely for the buying and selling of gold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners. 

In response, complainant disposed of its Zimbabwe Bank shares totalling to 65 9643 valued at US$ 38 000 to fund the gold project.

It is alleged that the accused ignored the initially agreed position of using the complainant's procurement team in buying the gold on behalf of the society.

Instead, the accused persons allegedly used 18 private agencies unknown to the PSMAS for gold buying. 

Subsequently, from 2019 to 2022 the accused persons received gold from five of the private agencies which was then sold to Fidelity and they realised US $ 702 386,80 and converted the money to their own use. An audit uncovered the scam.

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