What you need to know:
The group was charged with, among others, conspiracy to defraud and unlawful possession of government property.
Five people were yesterday arraigned before Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s Court and charged in connection with injecting more than 800 people with water instead of Covid-19 vaccines.
The group, including Mr Francis Baguma, a 25-year-old student of Makerere University, who was allegedly masquerading as a medical doctor, denied the charges.
The others are Ms Vanessa Nasuuna, 23, a nursing student at Kampala International University; Ms Rebecca Mubiru Nakiwolo, 22, a student nurse at Access Health Training Institute; Ms Kaana Majaabu, 24, an enrolled nurse at Kiswa Health Centre III; and Ms Gloria Katushabe, an enrolled midwife and proprietor of Gmarts Medical Centre in Busukuma, Gayaza.
The group was charged with offences of a negligent act likely to spread infection, conspiracy to defraud and unlawful possession of government property.
They were denied bail and remanded to prison with the execution of Ms Katushabe on the basis of being pregnant.
Under the charge of negligent act, prosecution alleges that the group and others still at large in June in Kawempe Division, Kampala District, unlawfully or negligently administered fake Covid-19 vaccines to employees of several factories, organisations and corporate entities. The organisations include Harris International, KCL Ltd Kitintale, United Bank of Africa, Diamond Trust Bank and MAKSS Packaging.
This, the prosecution claimed, was done by the accused persons, knowing that their acts were likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to human life.
Under the offence of conspiracy to defraud, Ms Nasuuna, Ms Nakiwolo and Mr Baguma still in the same month of June are alleged to have fraudulently obtained more than Shs8m from Harris International Ltd in exchange of supplying fake Covid-19 vaccines, well knowing that the jabs are free.
Under the last offence of unlawful possession of government property, it is alleged that Ms Nakiwolo, Ms Nasuuna and another still at large, during the same month, at Hariss International factory, without lawful excuse or permission, had in their possession 694 pieces of auto disable syringes 0.5MLs with injection batch number no. 044621 and 1912403, which is the property of the government.
The group was arrested by the State House Health Monitoring Unit last month.
But upon subjecting the said fake vaccines to the Government Analytical Laboratory, it was discovered that they were mainly composed of water more than any other chemicals.
Dr Warren Naamara, the director of the State House Health Monitoring Unit, at a news conference last month, said the population that received the fake jabs shouldn’t worry and that their life was not in danger.