Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter—
THE Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare has reinstated suspended Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) managing director, Henry Mandishona. Mandishona was suspended in November last year amid a slew of allegations that included alleged mismanagement, abuse of funds, unprocedural appointments and misconduct.
Mandishona’s lawyer, Innocent Chagonda of Harare law firm, Atherstone and Cook, confirmed that the Ministry had resolved that Mandishona had no case to answer.
Mandishona referred the matter to the Labour Ministry arguing that his employer had failed to conclude disciplinary proceedings against him within 30 days in line with provisions of the Labour Act.
“The determination by the Labour Ministry came on Friday. The labour relations officer dealing with the case determined on the substance of the allegations and concluded that Mandishona had no case to answer.
“He was therefore reinstated without loss of pay and benefits. The determination will go to the Labour Court for confirmation,” said Chagonda. PSMAS legal adviser Cosmas Mukwesha said he had not yet been informed of the latest development.
“I’m hearing it for the first time. I will probably have detailed information tomorrow,” said Mukwesha. According to the determination, which The Chronicle is in possession of, the labour officer only identified as L. Sigauke said: “To this end it is my determination that all the charges levelled against the claimant be and are hereby dismissed and the claimant is entitled to reinstatement back to his position without loss of pay and benefits.”
Two weeks ago, Mandishona’s legal representatives Atherstone and Cook wrote to the Ministry requesting the release of his ruling that was heard before the Labour Officer on December 18 last year.
According to a letter dated January 14, 2016 and addressed to Sigauke, the representatives requested the release of the ruling that was expected by the end of last month.
Sources within PSMAS said the medical insurer flighted an internal advertisement for a managing director, head of human resources and head of finance and administration last week. PSMAS also reportedly advertised the same vacancies through a recruitment agency, Proserve.
Legal experts described the move to replace the managing director as illegal as the labour dispute between Mandishona and PSMAS had not been settled.
Last year in October, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa and his counterpart in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Prisca Mupfumira directed that Mandishona should resume duty while a neutral arbiter was to be appointed to look at the issues raised against him.
The medical insurer’s board defied the two Ministers saying the move was illegal.
According to PSMAS, Mandishona was suspended for, among other charges, undercutting the board led by Jeremiah Bvirindi on important decisions. Other charges reportedly related to mismanagement, abuse of funds, unprocedural appointments and some bordering on corruption.
Mandishona was also alleged to have travelled to South Africa to source a computer system and recruited the heads of human resources and finance departments without board approval. He is also accused of using company funds for corporate social responsibility events which were not sanctioned by the board.
PSMAS has been under the spotlight since last year 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.