PSMAS bosses’ crime equates to acts of terrorism’

AN investigating officer in the case of four Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) bosses who are facing allegations of stealing US$702 386 from their employer has equated their crime to an act of terrorism.

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) officer Erick Chacha made the claims while opposing bail to Farai Muchena (54) (chief executive officer), Victor Chaipa (49) (group strategy and performance executive), Cosmas Mukwesha (50) (group secretary) and performance manager Polite Mugwagwa (41).

“I equate what they did as a terrorist attack to the country. We have facts against the accused persons and what they did has a negative impact on our beloved country,” Chacha told the court yesterday.

Harare regional magistrate Stanford Mambanje deferred the matter to Friday for ruling.

The court heard that sometime in 2020, the PSMAS board passed a resolution to venture into buying and selling of gold.

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

On February 18, 2021, PSMAS, acting on the board resolution, handed over these projects of gold buying, cannabis growing and micro finance business to the Premier Service Holding Company to enable them to focus on their core business of health insurance.

On July 13 2021, Muchena sent a memo to the complainant’s principal officer requesting funding for the gold project.

It is the State’s case that the funding amounted to US$237 794, with US$108 674 as pre-trading funding.

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

In response, the complainant disposed of its ZB Bank shares totalling 659 643 and valued at US$38 000 to fund the gold project.

It is alleged that the accused persons, however, diverted from the initially agreed position of using the complainant’s procurement team in buying the gold on behalf of the society.

The court heard that instead, the accused persons engaged 18 private agencies unknown to the PSMAS for gold buying.

The audit uncovered that the accused persons received and converted all the money realised from the sale of gold to Fidelity Printers totalling US$702 386,80 to their own use.

Meanwhile, two of their accomplices Cecilia Alexander and Wellington Tutisa started their bail application yesterday. Newsday

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