The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) board did not follow proper procedures in granting its medical doctors a retention allowance.
Boardroom fights have been playing out at the state-run entity for quite some time.
An internal audit investigation report, titled “Doctors Retention Allowances” gleaned by this publication reveals that the management must face the music for disregarding due process.
The then NSSA Board Chair, Percy Toriro, asked Internal Audit, via the Audit Committee Chairperson, to evaluate the audit trail of the doctors’ allowance resolutions in order to help the board move forward.
The audit’s goal was to determine if the proper governance procedures were followed in the awarding and payment of retention bonuses to NSSA Medical Doctors.
“Board Resolution 9/8/11/2022 states that “NSSA Medical Doctors be paid a Retention Allowance” . However, the conditions precedent were not met in full on implementation. There is no evidence of concurrence between the HR Committee and the Finance Committee on the final figures before payment of the doctors’ allowances.
“Condition C states that the HR Committee was to consult the Finance Committee on the proposed amounts. The consultation between the HR Committee and the Finance Committee was to determine the financial capacity to pay.
“A memo on the subject has been provided for but has no signatures on the space where the Finance Committee Chair was supposed to sign. The memo has a recommendation signed by Director Finance and ICT,” reads the report.
According to the report, there is no proof that the proposed allowance levels were evaluated by the entire board in accordance with the resolution.
“Audit confirmed with two sampled members of the board through mail and telephone interviews that the actual figures were not shared. Payment was done based on the approval of the Human Resources Committee Chair and the Acting Board Chair. However, the board resolution stated that the proposed figures be shared with the full board for approval.
“Whereas condition “B” of the board resolution states that “management was to provide the recommended amounts to the Human Resources, PR and Marketing Committees, there is no evidence that management provided the recommended amounts to the Committee. However, the amounts were shared with the HR Committee Chairperson, who approved them,” the report stated.
The report indicates that there is a memo from Dr. C. Shava to Mrs. Mathe, Chair of the Human Resources Committee, dated December 20, 2022, with a copy to Dr. P. Toriro, Chairman of the Board, requesting approval for a retention allowance at 115% of the US$3 200 base salary, bringing the new income to US$6 800.
“The proposed allowance amounts were approved by Mrs Mathe and the acting Board Chair Mrs Chinyemba. Human Resources Department effected the retention allowances for the four medical doctors at ZWL$ equivalents of US$3649.80 each, with effect from January 1, 2023.
“Whereas the NSSA Board resolved that “NSSA Medical Doctors be paid a Retention Allowance” through resolution number 09/08/11/2022, due process was not followed on implementation. In particular, we could not obtain evidence that the Finance Committee was consulted on the proposed allowance amounts and that these were shared with the main Board before payment,” reads part of the report.
Prior to implementation, the report recommended that all prerequisite requirements outlined in board resolutions be satisfied.
“We note that the allowances have been suspended, a situation which enables management to revisit this issue and follow the stipulated conditions of the resolution before implementation.
“The authority should adopt a holist review of staff conditions of service in order to avoid staff disengagement and low morale. Reward practices need to be seen to be fair and equitable to avoid divisions among staff,” the report said.
In order to prevent bad press for the company, the report recommended that the whistleblowing facility be reviewed to ensure that staff complaints are escalated to the appropriate management or board levels.
“Considering that the Board Resolution was implemented after approval by the HR Committee Chair and Acting Board Chair, the Board needs to reprimand management or prescribe appropriate sanctions for not following due process.
“The organization has been battling a toxic environment and bad publicity for some time now and it is about time that normalcy be restored,” reads part of the recommendation.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Toriro has left his position as NSSA Board chair – Harare