A laboratory owned by the former Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo is issuing out certificates with fake negative Covid-19 results to international travellers without going through the testing process, investigations by the state owned Sunday Mail have revealed.
Moyo was fired last year as Health Minister after corruptly awarding a $42 million tender to Drax International for the supply of COVID-19 drugs and personal protective equipment fully aware the company was not a pharmaceutical but a consultancy firm.
In the latest scandal, staff at his Klosad Clinical Diagnostics Lab, in Harare’s Avondale suburb, are producing the fake Covid-19 certificates at a price of US$45 each instead of the recommended US$65 charged by most institutions for the test that is a prerequisite for international travel.
The newspaper received a tip-off and embarked on a week-long investigation to confirm and expose the illicit activity that is hampering efforts to fight Covid-19, which is ravaging the country.
Posing as clients, the crew separately paid for and received the fake certificates at 20 Lanark Road, Avondale where the lab is situated, without being tested.
Further investigations showed that the corrupt syndicate operating at the laboratory comprises front-office workers, lab technicians, management and security guards with one worker identified as Mr Anesu Nyamugama fronting the team.
The scammers target cross-border travellers, mainly traders and job seekers who want to avoid the inconvenience of being tested. National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Nyathi said the police would look into the matter.
“We have already arrested individuals and syndicates selling fake certificates at Robert Mugabe International Airport, Beitbridge Border Post and Chirundu Border Post.
“We are aware that there are some who are operating underground and we urge members of the public who have information about such operations to come forward so that we can begin investigations.”
Klosad is among the laboratories that have been approved by the Government to conduct Covid-19 testing. Syndicates selling fake Covid-19 certificates to international travellers have been a menace since the end of the festive period as Zimbabweans based abroad are trooping back to their bases.
Covid-19 Chief Co-ordinator Dr Agnes Mahomva said authorities are escalating surveillance systems to fish out those selling fake certificates.
“From our side, we have always said that if you are found breaking the rules you will be arrested or closed down,” she said.
“In this case, we encourage you to make a police report and submit all the evidence that you have there so that the culprits are arrested.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is escalating its tracking systems to fish out perpetrators and it is also the duty of the public and the media as you have done to report offenders.”
Dr Moyo, who owns the lab, said he and other senior management were unaware that their employees were issuing fake certificates.
When The Sunday Mail presented to him evidence of the fake certificates, Dr Moyo checked with his employees and corroborated that the certificates were not in Klosad’s database and promised to take action against the culprits.
“We have checked the records and indeed your names do not appear and we are going to make a police report right away. These are just a few bad apples who will be dealt with.
“We are now dealing with those responsible and we want to assure the public that this will never happen again as we offer a professional service,” he said.
A number of people have been arrested at the country’s borders for attempting to leave the country using fake Covid-19 certificates. Staff Reporter/Sunday Mail