Three persons arrested for allegedly forging a COVID-19 test certificate were arraigned before an Ikeja magistrate court on Thursday.

 

The suspects — Emmanuel Adelegan; Ibrahim Abubakar and Tope Shoaga — were arrested by the Lagos state police.

 

They were charged with conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence and forgery.

 

Lucky Ihiehie, the prosecution counsel, told the court that the defendants committed the offences on February 8 at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

He said the defendants fraudulently obtained N33,000 from one Chisom Emmanalon with a promise to get her a COVID-19 test certificate but when the certificate was presented at the airport, authorities discovered that it was fake.

 

“The defendants were arrested,” Ihiehie said.

 

He said the offences contravene sections 314, 365 and 411 of the criminal law of Lagos state, 2015.

Following the defendants’ plea of “not guilty”, O. A. Layinka, the magistrate, released the suspects on bail in the sum of N100, 000 each with two sureties each in like sum.

 

Layinka ordered that all the sureties must be gainfully employed and show evidence of two years’ tax payment to the state government.

 

The hearing was adjourned till May 19.

 

An undercover investigation by TheCable had exposed how travellers paid government officials to obtain fake COVID-19 test certificates with a negative diagnosis.

 

Following the report, the federal government sealed off a laboratory found to be issuing fake COVID-19 test results in Abuja.

 

In March, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said travellers found to be in possession of fake COVID-19 test results would be arrested and prosecuted.