By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has opened investigations into rogue laboratories and individuals accused of issuing certificates declaring a person free of Covid-19 without carrying out any tests and among these is Klosad Clinical Diagnostics Lab in Harare owned by fired Health Minister Obadiah Moyo.
The testing room whose staff members were last week exposed for issuing fake Covid-19 certificates, has been shut down to pave way for full investigations.
Zacc deputy chairperson Kuziva Kuziva said those with information should contact investigations to avoid allowing potentially infected people to travel and interact with others as well as controlling the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease.
Moyo was arrested last year over the Covid-19 tender scandal that saw him allowing a dodgy company, Drax International to get a US$60 million contract to supply Covid-19 drugs and equipment without going to tender.
There have been reports that at least one private laboratory and some State laboratories, or at least staff at these laboratories, have been issuing certificates and sets of fake results without doing the required test.
An investigation made by the State controlled newspaper, the Sunday Mail established that reporters who went undercover and were asked to pay US$45 for a certified negative Covid-19 result at a private laboratory, Klosad Clinical Diagnostics Lab in Avondale.
Recently, a Herald reporter was reportedly issued with a certificate at Chitungwiza Hospital showing he had tested negative to Covid-19, when no test had been done, a service he had paid US$20.
Meanwhile Murapa said, based on media reports, Zacc was taking an interest and had launched investigations into the scandal.
“Although we have not yet received a formal report, we have taken interest in the matter and opened investigations to establish the truth. We cannot sit and relax while such corrupt elements break the law with impunity and put everyone at risk of contracting the virus through fake results,” he said.
“Investigations are underway and we appeal to all those with information that may help the investigator to contact us through our WhatsApp number or on www.zacconline/tipoff. If the informants want to remain anonymous, their protection is guaranteed,” Murapa added.
The corrupt syndicate is producing the fake Covid-19 certificates at a price of US$45 each instead of the recommended US$65 charged by most registered institutions for a legitimate Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test that is a prerequisite for international travel. One in need of the Covid-19 negative certificate then saves US$20 in the process.
Klosad Clinical Diagnostics is one of the few laboratories registered to take Covid-19 tests.
“Some members of staff at a private laboratory, Klosad Clinical Diagnostics Lab, in Harare’s Avondale suburb, are issuing out certificates with fake negative Covid-19 results to international travellers without going through the testing process,” the state media reported Sunday.
“Investigations revealed that the laboratory is owned by former Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr. Obadiah Moyo.”