20 vaccination cards missing

Source: 20 vaccination cards missing | Herald (Crime)

Asst Comm Nyathi

Crime Reporter
At least 20 more vaccination cards are missing at Chirindi Clinic in Mwenezi in unclear circumstances, as police are still conducting investigations into over 320 other cards stolen in several incidents across the country this year.

In Mwenezi, police said they are appealing for information that might assist them with investigations into the case.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said investigations were in progress.

Under the lockdown rules anyone using a stolen card and pretending they have had the jabs will be charged with forgery, normally an offence that leads to jail.

Last month investigations were launched into a case in which 250 Covid-19 vaccination cards went missing at Cheshuro Rural Health Centre in Gutu under unclear circumstances on August 25.

Officials at the clinic found that the cards were missing and immediately reported the matter to police.

There were fears that the cards could be sold to unvaccinated people in and around Masvingo.

There are people who instead of getting their free card when they get their free jabs are so terrified of being vaccinated, a painless process, that they are prepared to spend a lot of money and risk jail terms by buying a stolen card.

A Marondera General Hospital nurse was recently arrested on allegations of issuing Covid-19 vaccination cards to several people in the area although they had not received their jabs.

Kenneth Kuneka (35) was arrested following a tip-off, has been assisting police with investigations as they wanted to ascertain the number of cards issued so far.

Police also recovered an assortment of medical drugs and equipment hidden in his home.

The police were making efforts to track down all those who could have acquired the cards. Once found, they will be arrested and prosecuted.

Early August, police widened investigations into the theft of 58 Covid-19 vaccination cards from Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare and from Nyamaruru Clinic in Madziwa.

A nurse at Zvishavane District Hospital and her agent were arrested on charges of issuing Covid-19 vaccination cards to unvaccinated people.

Early this month, a State Registered Nurse at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital appeared in court on allegations of issuing vaccination cards to unvaccinated people.

Taurai Mupendere (38), who is attached to the maternity ward at the hospital, was facing criminal abuse of office charges when appearing before Harare magistrate Mr Dennis Mangosi.

Sometime in July, Cynthia Kambanje saw an advert on a WhatsApp group named “Zimboz China” which stated that whoever wanted a Covid-19 vaccination card was supposed to inbox the given number.

It is the State’s case that Kambanje became suspicious and contacted Mupendere in his inbox pretending she wanted a Covid-19 vaccination card without being vaccinated.

The court heard that Mupendere told Kambanje that he would issue her the vaccination card for US$50.

Mupendere then requested her full details and she complied.

It is alleged that on September 4, Mupendere told Kambanje to bring the money on September 5 and collect her Covid-19 vaccination card which had been processed.

But, so the court heard, on September 5 Kambanje informed police officers and a trap was set.

Mupendere met Kambanje along Samora Machel Avenue opposite the Exhibition Park.

Police detectives observed Kambanje handing over US$60 to Mupendere, who in turn gave her the vaccination card which had her particulars.

The detectives then arrested Mupendere.