PSMI Ordered To Vacate Property Over US$684K Rental Arrears
Premier Service Medical Investments (PSMI) has been ordered out of its rented premises in Harare for failing to clear rental arrears totalling US$684,298.
PSMI was taken to court in March by a local real estate company, Gilchrist and Cooksey Private Limited, after failing to pay rent and council rates. The High Court judge, David Mangota, upheld the request by Gilchrist and ordered PSMI to vacate the property and pay the outstanding arrears.
The court order directed PSMI to vacate the property within 48 hours, failure of which the Sheriff of the High Court was directed to evict the respondent. Additionally, PSMI was ordered to pay the sum of US$67,686 in arrears due to Gilchrist from January to December 2022, and the sum of $799,089 in council rates due from January to December 2022. Reads a recent court order:
The respondent or anyone who claims occupation through it is and is hereby ordered to vacate from property No. 29B of Cnr Speke Avenue/ J. Nyerere Way within 48 hours of this order.
Failure of which, the Sheriff of the High Court is hereby directed to evict the respondent.
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The respondent be and is hereby ordered to pay the applicant the sum of US$67,686 or equivalent at interbank rate on the date of payment being arrears due to plaintiff from January 2022 to December 2022.
The respondent be and is hereby ordered to pay the sum of $799,089 being council rates due from January 2022 to December 2022 for the said property.
The court papers show that Gilchrist and PSMI entered into a lease agreement in July 2021, which expired on December 31, 2022. Despite several demands from Gilchrist, PSMI refused to move out and failed to pay the monthly rentals and council rates.
PSMI is a subsidiary of the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) which has been embroiled in corruption, including the 2013 salary scandal involving former CEO Dr. Cuthbert Dube. Dube allegedly earned half a million dollars every month and received allowances equivalent to his monthly basic salary of US$230,000, plus a bonus of over US$1 million. The annual wage bill for the top 15 PSMAS executives was US$18.6 million, with Dube taking more than a third of that total.
The salaries paid to the top PSMAS bosses could have been used to save and alleviate the suffering of more than 61,111 people suffering from HIV and AIDS by purchasing ARVs every month. These salaries were paid out of medical aid funds contributed by civil servants earning an average of US$350 per month (at that time), while Dube earned US$500,000 monthly. PSMAS has never recovered since then.