Cops probe fake Covid-19 certificates scam

THE police have launched investigations into the corrupt issuance of fake Covid-19 certificates to travellers and job seekers by staff at some public hospitals and laboratories.
This followed a recent investigative story by a local media house that exposed the rot at Chitungwiza Central Hospital and Sally Mugabe Central Hospital in Harare.
The report exposed the scandal in which the syndicates at the institutions were charging between US$20 and US$40 to corruptly issue fake Covid-19 certificates to individuals who need them for international travel without conducting tests.
The corrupt syndicates at Chitungwiza Hospital and Harare’s Sally Mugabe Hospital involve laboratory staff, nurses and security guards at health facilities, who then split the bribes.
Most institutions charge around US$65 for the required PCR test for Covid-19, a test that is required within 48 hours before leaving the country by road or air.
But to avoid the inconvenience or cut costs those wishing to cross the borders have resorted to paying bribes to health staff to be issued with a fraudulent certificate showing they tested negative to Covid-19.
In an interview yesterday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed that investigations were currently underway, although no arrests had been made.
“As of now, we are still investigating the case,” he said.
According to the Zimbabwean regulations following World Health Organisation guidelines, travellers must produce a PCR Covid-19 clearance certificate issued by a recognised health facility within 48 hours before leaving the country.
Cross-border traders, job-seekers and others desperate for cheaper certificates are the major clients of the corrupt syndicates.
The Herald recently got a tip-off and embarked on a week-long investigation to expose the rot.
As part of the investigation, two reporters were deployed at Chitungwiza Central Hospital and Sally Mugabe Hospital where they found that corrupt syndicates were ready to issue certificates.
Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro recently said those fingered in the illicit deals will face the full wrath of the law.

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