Dec 06, 2021 News
— nabbed during sting operation at EBD snackette
Kaieteur News – A nurse last week admitted to police that she had sold some 50 Covid-19 vaccine cards at a price of $65,000 each and that 12 of her colleagues at the Ministry of Health had sold some 500 as well at the same price.
She along with another nurse were nabbed by police last week during separate ‘sting operations’ selling the cards on the East Coast and East Bank Demerara.
The first was caught in the East Coast Police District last week. She was arrested and taken to the Sparendaam Police Station and spent some three days in the Beterverwagting Police lock-ups.
Commander of East Coast police district, Khali Pareshram, said that she has since been released on bail and the case file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice. The second nurse was reportedly caught on Saturday last at a snackette on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD).
This media house was told that they are being accused of facilitating individuals who do not want to take the Covid-19 vaccines by selling them the vaccine card. Police reportedly set up undercover operation posing as one of these individuals to trap the nurses.
Kaieteur News was told that on Saturday a female police rank contacted a nurse and told her that she would like to purchase some vaccine cards. The nurse then reportedly told the rank that it will cost her $65,000. The serial numbers of the cash were recorded and the female rank agreed to meet with the nurse at the snackette. She paid for the Covid-19 booklets and then called in her colleagues to intercept the nurse.
The police ranks arrested the nurse and took her to Golden Grove Police Station where she admitted to selling 50 Covid-19 Vaccine Booklets. She has also named 12 other medical personnel working with the Ministry of Health who are allegedly selling vaccine cards also.
According to the detained nurse the 12 have allegedly sold some 500 vaccine cards. The nurse has also agreed to assist investigators in going through the records to identify the buyers of the COVID-19 booklet. Investigations are ongoing.
Back in August this year, in wake of concerns about the possible forgery and selling of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, had said that his ministry is working on a system to generate digital versions of the COVID-19 vaccination card.
Anthony had told the media that digital document and a corresponding digital database would help ease the concerns about possible forged documents, as well as help give persons easier access to show proof of vaccination when visiting businesses and government ministries and agencies. While Dr. Anthony gave no definitive timeline for the completion and release of a digital card, he noted that employees of the Ministry are in the process of creating electronic copies of the cards as part of the first step towards digitising the system.
“We are digitalising our records right now, and we have a few options that we are looking at right now on how we can do this,” Dr. Anthony said, emphasising that the new system would be calibrated in a way to detect cases of forgery, given that there have been reports of persons attempting to forge the cards and corrupt the process.
“We have had reports of persons who are forging the card, and if we find anyone forging the card they will face the law, because we have a law that deals with forgery…In Section 240 of our criminal law, our Criminal Offences Act, Chapter 8:01, forgery is an offence and you can be prosecuted for forgery.….If you didn’t get vaccinated, why would you get a card to say that you’re vaccinated? The vaccines are free. It’s there, go get it,” Minister Anthony said.
Dr. Anthony noted that persons found in possession of bogus documents would face imprisonment. “The fine, if you’re found guilty of forgery, would be up to three years imprisonment. If you forge a vaccination card, then you will be liable to this type of punishment, if caught. So, I want to encourage people to desist from such practices because when we catch you, you are going to feel the full brunt of the law,” the Health Minister said, adding that persons who have purchased counterfeit documents would also be put before the court. He stressed: “The people who were buying the vaccination card, if there’s such actions that are currently ongoing, I just want to warn people that this is an offence, and we will be taking very stern measures against anyone who’s trying to do this.”
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