Aviation Police on Sunday arrested 24 people at Entebbe airport with fake negative Covid-19 test results.
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCCA) spokesperson, Mr Vianney Luggya, said that those arrested include 11 women and 13 men.
“We have previously got others, which is a sign that there is a mechanism in place to detect forgeries. That is why we keep on sensitising travellers, urging them to ensure that they undertake Covid-19 tests from authorised testing centres.” he said.
Mr Luggya added that they have since stepped up mechanisms to detect forgeries of Covid-19 test results.
“On top of the previous security regulations, we now have added measures at the passenger screening; we carry out temperature screening and that verification process for the Covid-19 certificate; we are able to look at it and analyse the security features to confirm whether its genuine or not,” he said.
The manager of Kazuri Medical Clinic at the airport, Dr James Eyul, yesterday said since flights resumed on October 1, they have been detecting fake results during screening of passengers.
“We had already been informed that results of all people who carry out Covid-19 tests are uploaded into the Ministry of Health system, which we are able to log into and check authenticity of the results,” he said.
Mr Eyul said one person was arrested with a forged PCR test on the first day of the reopening of the airport to passenger flights.
“He forged a negative certificate but when we checked in the system, we found he was positive. We got him and informed police and he is going to face the courts of law. We have also been able to detect people at arrivals with forged certificates,” he said.
Mr Eyul said among those arrested yesterday was a man who wanted to travel with Turkish Airlines and presented a negative PCR certificate yet upon checking the system, he was found to be positive for Covid-19.
“Most of today’s [yesterday] arrests never carried out the Covid-19 tests, they simply used computers to forge the certificates and they are going to be charged. We have a high risk where a positive person could board the aircraft and infect passengers, which is the worst case scenario,” he said.
The Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Mr Patrick Onyango, said those arrested will be charged with forgery and uttering forged documents.
“We want to warn the public that if you attempt to get to the airport with a forged Covid-19 certificate, you will be immediately detected and arrested. We appeal to Ugandans to get the right certificate through the right channels not back doors. The security teams are currently interrogating them, we want them to lead us to where this forgery took place,” he said.