COVID-19-free certificates fraudsters jailed

BY REX MPHISA

A SHIPPING clerk in Beitbridge and a student were jailed an effective one-year sentence each for fraudulent issuing of COVID-19 negative certificates to travellers.

Morgan Sigxoza (21), a clearing clerk employed by Multi-link Clearing and Titos Matekwe (24) a student at Vhembe High School, had six months of their sentences suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour when they appeared before Beitbridge magistrate Toindepi Zhou yesterday.

Giving his reasons for sending them to jail, Zhou said such fraudsters were responsible for the spread of coronavirus and, therefore, deserved stiff penalties.

Allegations were that on January 5 this year, the pair produced a fake COVID-19 free certificate using the name of Pathology Laboratory which is licensed to produce the certificates.

However, officials at the Port Health Authority noted that something was wrong with the certificate and they alerted Pathology Laboratories who made a complaint to the police.

Investigations were then made which led to the arrest of Sigxoza of 81 Impala Drive Beitbridge, and Matekwe of 593 Dulivhadzimo.

Allegations were that the pair had soft copies of certificates from Pathology Laboratories on their mobile phones and computer, which they used to produce the fake certificates.

They pleaded guilty to the offence. Tinayeishe Matenga prosecuted.

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