A self-acclaimed COVID-19 Testing expert and an employee of Satguru Travel and Tours Agency, Soni Manoj, has been fined by the Kaneshi District Court for engaging in illegal medical activities.

Soni Manoj was charged for forgery and possession of forged documents contrary to Sections 169 and 166 of the Criminal and Other Offences Act of 1960 (Act 29).

He was arraigned before the court on 8th February 2022, where he pleaded guilty to all the charges leveled against him

The Court presided by District Court Magistrate, His Worship Oheneba Kuffour, convicted Soni on his own plea to a fine of 300 penalty units in the equivalent of GHc 3,600.00.

The Judge turned down mitigation pleas by Soni Manoj’s lawyer to temper justice with mercy and convicted and sentenced him to serve as a deterrent.

The Court held the view that the malicious nature of the offence committed by Soni was some of the influence which had brought a lot of public mistrust to the test.

According to the Court, such illegalities have affected the operation of some reputable laboratories and medical facilities such as LEDing Medical Laboratory.

The Court further expressed its displeasure at the illegal antics of persons such as the convict, Soni Manoj.

Soni was engaged in faking COVID-19 test certificates using the name and certificate design layout of the LEDing Medical Laboratory, for some Indian sojourners departing Ghana.

The conviction also crowns with success the public-spirited efforts of LEDing Medical Laboratory and its Directors working hand in hand with the Ghana Police Service to arrest and expose all manner of culprits engaged in the illicit activity of faking its test results or certificates.

According to the brief facts of the case provided by Chief Inspector William Osei, sometime in March 2021, the Financial Director of LEDing Medical Laboratory made a complaint to the police upon detecting that certain travelers of Indian nationality who had arrived at the airport for departure formalities were in possession of fake LEDing Medical Laboratory negative-status COVID-19 test certificates.

He said upon questioning, the travelers mentioned that their test certificates had been facilitated by the travel and tour agency that handled their flight bookings, Satguru Travel & Tour Agency, located in Accra.

The prosecutor explained that the Police investigations led to the arrest of Soni Manoj, who was employed by the said Satguru Travel & Tour Agency, as the source of the fake certificates.

Manoj, he said was subsequently arrested and during interrogation, he claimed in his cautioned statement that he was in his office when one “Alex” walked in and introduced himself as a marketing officer for a medical laboratory.

 Alex, according to Manoj, claimed he could take samples from individuals and groups for COVID-19 tests and that based on this information, he (Manoj) also directed him to the residence of the Indians to take samples for the tests. Later, as Manoj claimed, Alex brought the test results to him and he also forwarded it together with flight tickets booked by his employer, Satguru Travel & Tours Agency, to the Indian travelers.

“However, the accused could not lead police to the residence or office of suspect Alex. The accused person admitted the offence and was charged with the appropriate offenses and arraigned before this honorable court,” Detective C/Inspr William Osei concluded in his presented case facts to the Court.

Source: Godwin Mahama

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