KAMPALA – A total of 36 people, who were intercepted at Entebbe airport last week, have been fined for forging PCR COVID-19 test certificates.
The suspects appeared at Entebbe Magistrates Court in different sessions presided over by Magistrates Juliet Nakitende, Phionah Birungi and Naume Sikhoyi.
The suspects, who were charged with forgery and uttering forged documents, pleaded guilty to the charges. As a result, the magistrates fined the accused UGX 200,000 for forgery or 13-month imprisonment. They were also fined UGX100,000 for uttering forged documents or 6-month imprisonment.
The suspects are Claire Nalugo Kayanja, her sister Helen Kayanja, Anita Nankya, Viola Nakayenga, Duncan Luyima, Teddy Nakaggwa, Angella Nabakooza, Madinah Nakakawa, Aidah Nakafeero, Mazafaru Kawuma, Florence Nassozi and Esther Namugenyi. The others are Nagam Venkata, Tesfay Habiteselase Welderas and Immad Eddin Taamin.
The suspects were intercepted at Entebbe International Airport en route to United Arab Emirates, India and the United Kingdom among other destinations.
The suspects got the fake COVID-19 test certificates from the Central Public Health Laboratories and Makerere University College of Health Sciences.
For instance, Angella Nabakooza apparently took the test on October 20th, 2020 at Makerere University College of Health Sciences and the results were released the next day. Duncan Luyima’s certificate indicated that he took the test at Central Public Health Laboratories at Naguru Police Health Centre IV on October 18th, 2020 while Tesfay Habiteselase Welderas purportedly took the test from Ministry of Health offices in Kampala on October 16th.
However, during the hearing, the state noted that the dates on the certificates were edited to meet the validity period and the QR codes didn’t exist in the results system. Court released the suspects since none of them tested positive for COVID-19 after being subjected to fresh tests while in detention.
All departing passengers are expected to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test certificate issued within 120 hours before their departure flight.