KLOSAD Clinical Diagnostics Lab, whose staff members were last week exposed for issuing fake Covid-19 certificates, has been shut down to pave way for full investigations.
The laboratory was suspended from operating for an indefinite period to allow the Ministry of Health and Childcare and the Medical Laboratory and Clinical Scientists Council of Zimbabwe (MLCSCZ) to complete investigations into the lab’s operations.
The Sunday Mail understands that, in addition to the fake certificates scam, authorities are keen to probe allegations that Klosad was operating without proper registration and qualified staff while its Covid-19 certificates were being authorised by fictitious staff members.
MLCSCZ registrar Ms Agnes Chigora confirmed that the lab had been shut down for “further investigations”. Council has recommended suspension of services until finalisation of the ongoing investigations,” she said.
An official privy to the developments revealed that authorities were conducting additional investigations into the rot at Klosad.
“For example, this Nyakuedzwa who was approving the certificates is not even among the employees and is stationed at Chitungwiza General Hospital,” said the source.
“His name was only there on the paper but other people were doing the signing for him. The staff on the ground was not adequately trained and they were working without proper supervision.
“The Anesu Nyamugama who was arrested is not even registered as an employee of the lab and some of the names of the people who are said to have signed those papers were not on duty.
“So there are suggestions that the level of corruption at Klosad was high and it could have involved quite a number of people.”
Nyamugama was arrested last week facing fraud charges.
Allegations are that from January 8 to 12, Nyamugama issued two fake negative Covid-19 certificates to The Sunday Mail reporters Harmony Agere and Emmanuel Kafe, thus misrepresenting that they had gone through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
He was not asked to plead when he appeared before Harare magistrate Isheanesu Matova who granted him $7 000 bail and ordered him to return to court on February 24. In a statement last week, Klosad said it had dismissed Nyamugama and reported him to the police.
“Klosad Lab is committed to ethical conduct at all times as we are part of the fight against the spread of Covid-19 in our country and support the efforts made by the Government of Zimbabwe.
“We would like to advise the public and all our valued customers that Klosad Clinical Diagnostics Lab is committed to producing accurate, authentic and certified certificates for the benefit of all Zimbabweans. We are currently working with an IT company on a computerised system that will put an end to all such cases of fake Covid-19 certificates.”
In another development, Klosad is being accused of entering into a suspicious alliance with commercial airliner, fastjet Zimbabwe.
Under the pact, fastjet is reportedly accepting Covid-19 certificates issued by Klosad only, while rejecting results from other registered laboratories. A whistle-blower told The Sunday Mail that his family failed to travel to South Africa at the beginning of the month after fastjet rejected test results which were not done at Klosad.
“My brother’s wife and his kid wanted to fly back to SA using fastjet today but the Covid-19 results they were holding were rejected by the ticketing agent,” said the whistle-blower.
“The agent said they needed results from Klosad only. I later did investigations and was told that there is a contract between Klosad and fastjet to force everyone who boards the plane to produce a copy from the labs.
“I had time to check what’s going on because the health point at Robert Mugabe International Airport had certified the results as valid, only to be turned away by a ticket agent.”
Contacted for comment, fastjet accountable manager Mr Ed Berry denied the allegations.
“fastjet does not have an exclusive deal with Klosad, we employ a rigorous staff Covid-19 testing regime for this, we do not use Klosad, we use another supplier,” he said.
“Klosad has a testing centre on the same premises as the fastjet sales shop in Belgravia. “They offer passengers of fastjet or TAAG Angolan Airlines, who also have their sales shop on the same premises a special rate.
“The airline has nothing to do with setting up this relationship. It was purely between the owner of the premises and Klosad.”
Former Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo, who is the owner of Klosad, did not respond to a request for an interview. Sunday Mail