EKUSILENI Hospital in Bulawayo is owed $4,2 million in rentals by one of its partners Doubt Dube who is failing to resuscitate it despite financial support from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), Parliament was told yesterday.
The revelations prompted MPs to question Dube’s deals with NSSA, which they said were suspicious.
Ekusileni was built by NSSA and the Mining Industry Pension Fund (MIPF) in 2000 at the behest of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo.
It was immediately shut down after it was discovered that equipment imported from the United States had expired.
There has been talk since last year that the specialist hospital would reopen soon with unnamed South African investors showing an interest in the project.
NSSA general manager James Matiza told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service chaired by Zanu PF Gutu East MP Berita Chikwama that delays to resuscitate Ekusileni Hospital were costly.
Matiza and Public Service ministry acting secretary Sydney Mhishi said Public Service minister Nicholas Goche and Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa will soon visit Bulawayo to investigate the project.
“Our desire is that the Ekusileni project should benefit the people of Bulawayo,” Matiza said.
“We have not lost that thinking, and we believe there is a way forward and that is why we handed over the project to the ministry.
“We have already given a loan of $6 million which is sitting at CBZ waiting for investors to make it operational so that it benefits the people it was intended to benefit.”
Matiza said Ekusileni problems started when one of the shareholders Zimbabwe Healthcare Trust (ZHCT) led by Dube brought equipment from Harvard University in the US.
The equipment was condemned and the hospital was ordered to cease operations.
Dube later tried to resuscitate the project and promised to inject $12 million, adding a South African company NetCare was going to bring in new equipment, but it never happened.
Despite the failure by Dube to resume operations, NSSA is said to have given a loan facility of $6 million to the ZHCT.
However, that was on condition that the money at CBZ would not be withdrawn until Dube and ZHCT had satisfied NSSA beyond reasonable doubt that they had raised the $12 million.
“If Dube fails, NSSA is going to float a tender to other doctors to begin operations,” Matiza said.
Ekusileni, which cost Z$339 930 123, was a joint venture between NSSA, ZHCT and MIPF, but is now wholly owned by NSSA.
“The initial agreement was NSSA would pay Z$128 million and get 56% shareholding, ZHCT pays Z$70 million for 28,8% shareholding, MIPF pays Z$32 million for 15,2% shareholding, but all except NSSA failed to pay resulting in NSSA completing the building and acquiring title deeds 12 years later for land which initially belonged to Dube,”
The committee said they suspected something fishy about the deals with Dube as he had continuously been given money by NSSA even when he failed to ensure progress on the hospital.