3 grabbed for stealing and selling Covid-19 vaccines

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Denmark has discontinued use of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine
Denmark has discontinued use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine

National Security has arrested three people for their alleged involvement in the theft and sale of the Ghana government’s COVISHIELD vaccines.

Disease Control Officer at Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Stephen Desicino, 37, is said to have stolen 36 vials of COVIDSHIELD and La Bawalashie Polyclinic Disease Control Officer, Lord Papeete, who is now at large, also stole 26. vials of COVIDSHIELD.

Cosmos Aloti, the 42-year-old Occupational Health and Safety Officer, is said to have received the stolen COVIDSHIELD from Papeete and Desicino.

He allegedly administered the vaccines at a cost of GH of 200.00 per dose.

Joseph Knight Jesse, a project assistant and former laboratory technician at Greater Accra Regional Hospital, has also been detained on charges of inciting the crime.

The three – Desicino, Jesse and Aloti – were returned to legal custody by the Accra Circuit Court to appear on April 1.

The Prosecutor, Investigator Sergeant Frederick Sarpong, called on the court, headed by Ms. Afia Ousoa, not to accept the defendants’ requests because investigations are underway and efforts are underway to arrest others believed to be involved in the crime.

The charges against the defendants were not read to them. Nevertheless, the facts of the case were read in a public hearing.

Investigator Sergeant Sarpong said that when granted bail, the defendants may not only interfere in the investigations, but also other witnesses.

According to the facts, he said that the other persons involved had not yet been arrested, and he called on the court to remand them in custody.

Lawyers for the defendants prayed for release on bail, saying their clients had served the republic and would do nothing to interfere with the investigations.

According to the lawyers, the defendants had fixed places of residence and people who would secure them upon release on bail.

The court rejected the bail request presented by the defense lawyer, and said that the facts that the prosecution informed the court were that the other accused had not yet been arrested and that investigations were ongoing.

The facts, as presented by the prosecution, are that the complainants were members of the National Security Agency.

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During the first week of March of this year, the prosecution said, agents received intelligence that some health officials were stealing and selling Covid-19 vaccines brought in by the Ghanaian government.

Detective Sergeant Sarpong said through the intelligence that Aloti’s name was mentioned and his phone number was obtained as the person who injects Covid-19 vaccines for a fee.

He said the complainant called Allotey and pretended he wanted to buy some Covid-19 vaccines, so he charged the complainant with a GH of 200.00 yen per vaccination.

Prosecutors said on March 16 this year, Aloti was arrested when he was called to Labone in Accra to inject the complainant with a fee of 200.00 GH.

When Allotey was inspected, he said, eight vials of COVIDSHIELD were found, eight COVIDSHIELD used, and 173 pieces of 0.5 mL of unused syringes and cotton.

The prosecutor said during interrogation that Aloti mentioned Dzicino and Papeete as his source.

He said Aloti led the National Security Forces to arrest Desicino and Jesse.

Prosecutors said that Aloti, in the investigative warning statement, admitted to purchasing 36 vials of the government-purchased COVIDSHIELD vaccine at a cost of 18,000.00 GH.

According to him, Aloti also said that he sold 20 vials of COVIDSHIELD at a cost of 16,000.00 GW and later returned 15 vials to Desicino.

Prosecutors said Aloti said he had also purchased 26 vials of COVIDSHIELD from Papeete at a cost of 4,800.00 g.

Mr Sarpong said that in his cautionary statement, Dzisenu mentioned Gaisie as the one who helped and facilitate the sale of stolen CONVIDSHIELD vaccines to Allotey.

The prosecution said efforts are under way to arrest Papeete and others.

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