By Bongani Ndlovu/Michelle Nyanzira
Police in Bulawayo have arrested three people for issuing fake Covid-19 certificates to media personnel who wanted to cover a football match at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
The three are Grace Chavaripa (35) of New Lobengula, Makomborero Musonza (37) of Ntabazinduna Flats and Kudakwashe Madzima (26) of St Patricks Hotel, all employed at the National Tuberculosis Referral Laboratory at Mpilo Central Hospital.
The three suspects were arrested at the Chicken Inn and Bulawayo Chiefs football match that ended two nil in favour of the Gamecocks.
Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said the suspects were assisting with investigations.
“We are investigating a case where three people were arrested for issuing fake Covid-19 certificates at Barbourfields Stadium. There were some people who wanted to enter the stadium, but their Covid-19 certificates looked suspicious and upon further investigations with the laboratories that were said to have issued the certificates, they distanced themselves from them. Upon asking those who had the certificates where they got them from, they led us to the three suspects who were arrested,” said Insp Ncube.
In a tweet, Police warned the public against forging Covid-19 certificates.
“The police warn members of the public that are involved in forgery of Covid-19 certificates that they risk arrest,” posted the police.
Sports journalist associations have condemned the issuing of fake certificates to the media and urged their members not to engage in such illegal acts.
Sports Journalists Association (SPOJA) secretary general for the southern region, Nash Mkokwayarira said before the match there were people testing journalists at Barbourfields Stadium in full view of the Premier Soccer League officials on Saturday.
“It is proper that if we want to go and test, we must look for organisations that are well known so that we will not be found using fake certificates. This is to avoid the spread of the Covid-19. It is always going to be difficult to know and assume that the tests are fake as these people were making people pay for the tests and this was in full view of PSL officials,” said Mkokwayarira.
Sports Writers Association of Zimbabwe (SWAZ) secretary general Mehluli Sibanda said they commend the police for bringing the culprits to book.
“It’s a concern because as an association we accepted the recommendations of the PSL medical committee that requires everyone who attends a football match to have a valid Covid-19 test. We don’t understand why someone would want to buy a fake certificate, because you are putting the life of players, coaches and fellow journalists at risk. We believe journalists must follow the laid down guidelines by the PSL.
We condemn such acts and commend the police for arresting these culprits,” said Sibanda.
He said since football started, those who cover matches have done at least three rounds of testing for Covid-19. The Chronicle