By Joyce Mukucha
As it strives to be a preferred provider of world-class quality, innovative and comprehensive pathological services, the Pathology Laboratories (Pathlabs) has noted with concern the rise in fraudulent activities with regards to the usage of the body’s intellectual property in the form of its letterheads.
The letterheads are being used to produce fake Covid-19 tests and vaccination certificates to enable members of the public to cross the country’s borders.
With a rapid surge of the pandemic’s cases, countries across the globe including Zimbabwe are now requiring travellers and passengers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure.
All arriving passengers are bound to provide verifiable proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before departure and this has caused fraudulent activities to happen with people providing fake Covid-19 certificates.
In an effort to curb this, Pathlabs is conducting thorough investigations in Beitbridge and they have already convicted some of the perpetrators.
In a statement, released on the 24th of January 2021, Pathlabs said such acts of criminality were not only putting the medical brand at stake but were also hampering the government’s efforts to combat the spread of the virus and at the same time putting the public at risks of contracting COVID-19.
“After receiving a tip-off in December 2020, a robust investigation ensued in Beitbridge led by Sergeant Denenga who heads the Beitbridge Urban Crime Prevention Unit.
“We took note of fraudulent activities with regards to the usage of our intellectual property. On 9 January 2021, two perpetrators were apprehended. The two culprits namely Morgan Sigxoza (21 years old) and Titos Matekwe (24 years old) were later sentenced to one year in prison. Besides our brand suffering a major setback through such wanton acts of criminality, the culprits hampered government’s efforts of controlling the spread of the virus hence endangering the general public,” the statement read.
Additionally, Pathlabs advised its valued clients that Pathology Laboratories Covid-19 certificates are only issued at Number 15 Baines Avenues in Harare and First floor 107 Hebert Chitepo in Mutare respectively.
The body also encouraged members of the public to abide by all Covid-19 stipulated precautionary measures and enforced laws to curtail the spread of the deadly virus which has seen a rapid rise in cases and resurgence in deaths.
“We would like to urge members of the public to take Covid-19 seriously by adhering to all precautionary measures stipulated by the government to halt the spread of the coronavirus. We remind our valued clients to mask up, wash hands with soap or an alcohol-based solution, practice social distancing, avoid crowded places and above everything else to stay home and stick to the national lockdown regulations.”
Pathlabs is a Harare based medical and pathology laboratory that provides laboratory testing and services for Healthcare professionals and patients.