Zambia anti-corruption body arrests medical worker for illegal COVID-19 clearance certificates

Workers disinfect the Zambezi market in Lusaka, capital of Zambia, May 15, 2020. (Xinhua/Martin Mbangweta)
Workers disinfect the Zambezi market in Lusaka, capital of Zambia, May 15, 2020. (Xinhua/Martin Mbangweta)~

Zambia’s anti-corruption agency on Tuesday arrested a medical practitioner for issuing COVID-19 clearance certificates suspected to be fake .

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) said Kingsley Kakoma, a biomedical technologist at the Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital, was arrested for suspected corrupt practices in relation to the illegal issuance of travellers’ medical certification for COVID-19.

Timothy Moono, the anti-corruption agency’s Corporate Affairs Manager said the medical officer was arrested after a tip-off from members of the public and was found in possession of 2,250 Zambian Kwacha (about 110 U.S. dollars) and five blank COVID-19 clearance medical certificates.

He said in a statement that the certificates were pre-signed, marked negative and bore a stamp for the Zambia Institute of Public Health, the government agency authorized to issue COVID-19 certificates.

He was also found in possession of 86 preservation solution tubes, 50 sample collection swabs, among other items.

The suspect, he said, was arrested after soliciting for money from a student who was scheduled to travel abroad for studies.

The Ministry of Health warned recently that it was aware of some private health facilities that were issuing fake COVID-19 certificates at a fee.

Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said the trend poses risks to the health of people and warned of stern action to anyone who will be arrested.

Zambia has so far recorded 15,549 COVID-19 cases since March, including 14,682 recoveries and 345 deaths.