COVID-19 Vaccine Stealing Syndicate Busted

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-They Sell Each Jab for GHC 200

National Security has busted three persons for reportedly stealing several vials of the newly delivered AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines and have diverted them for sale on a vaccine black market in Ghana. 

The Ghana News Agency reports that one Stephen Dzisenu, a 37-year-old Disease Control Officer of the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Cosmos Allotey a 42-year-old Occupational Health and Safety Office, Lord Pabitey, a Disease Control Officer of the La Bawalashie Polyclinic and Joseph Knight Gaisie, a Project Assistant at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital are part of the syndicate busted.

The accused were denied bail last week when arrested. Detective Sergeant Sarpong explained why their bail was refused, saying they would interfere with investigations if granted.

The prosecution said during the first week of March this year, the operatives received intelligence that some health officials had been stealing and selling the COVID-19 vaccines brought in by the Government of Ghana.

Detective Sergeant Sarpong said through intelligence, Allotey’s name was mentioned and his phone number obtained as the one who injects the COVID-19 vaccines for a fee.

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He said the complainant contacted Allotey and feigned interest in buying some of the COVID-19 vaccines, so he charged the complainant GH¢200.00 per vaccination.

The prosecution said on March 16 this year, Allotey was arrested when he was invited to Labone in Accra to inject the complainant at a fee of GH¢200.00.

The prosecution said Allotey, in his investigative cautioned statement, admitted buying 36 of the vials of government procured COVIDSHIELD vaccine at the cost of GH¢18,000.00.

More than a fortnight ago, Ghana received a consignment of 600,000 Astrazeneca vaccines from the GAVI Vaccine Alliance “free-of-charge”. The government proceeded with a mass vaccination exercise immediately. However, they were not fast enough as the syndicate dug their hands into the consignment.

So far, a total of 405,000 people have been vaccinated against the virus as of Thursday, March 18, 2021, as the government plans to vaccinate about 20 million of the population.

Meanwhile, it is unclear how the syndicate transported the highly sensitive vaccines, which must be kept under some specific low temperature to ensure their safety.

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