By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
11 February 2014
Cuthbert Dube, the former boss of the Premier Service Medical Aid Society, on Monday issued the Herald with a one-day ultimatum to stop publishing exposes on his alleged abuse of public funds.
Dube, who is also the chairman of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), threatened court action against the newspaper if it fails to comply with his order. He wants to stop the daily paper from publishing details of his outrageous salaries and allowances which amounted to US$6.4 million per year.
His lawyers, Venturas and Samukange, told the paper that Dube had instructed them that unless the Herald desists from continuously publishing falsehoods, ‘he will be left with no option but to approach the High Court for an urgent interdict.’ Dube’s lawyers claim reports of abuse of funds at PSMAS were misleading.
However, Dube’s attempts to gag the newspaper have been condemned by political commentators and journalists. Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us that instead of engaging the media and explaining his side of the story, Dube was inflaming the situation by trying to silence the newspaper.
Government has directed the medical aid society to hold a special general meeting on Friday to dissolve the board.
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr Paul Chimedza said two major issues to be discussed at the special general meeting are the dissolution of the board of directors and the appointment of an interim manager to run the affairs of the society for a stipulated period.
The Herald reported that the society’s operating licence was not renewed at the end of 2013 after they failed to submit audited financial statements. The order to new PSMAS chairman Luxon Zembe to hold a special general meeting on Friday comes after civil servants, who form the majority of contributors to the society, met in Harare last week to make a similar demand.
Meanwhile, Air Zimbabwe secretary Grace Pfumbidzayi has been found guilty of defrauding the airline of over $6 million in an aviation insurance scam. A disciplinary tribunal chaired by Harare lawyer Wellington Pasipanodya last Friday found that she facilitated payments of inflated premiums to an insurance company.
The tribunal also found her guilty of acting contrary to her contract of employment. The tribunal reserved the penalty, though there are indications that she now faces the sack.
It is reported that suspended airline’s acting chief executive Innocent Mavhunga stormed out of the disciplinary proceedings in protest, leaving the panel to conduct the hearing in his absence. Mavhunga is accused of theft and fraud involving over US$11 million.