By Al Qalam Reporter
The four suspects bust with fake Covid-19 vaccines in Gauteng must face the harshest jail terms, said Yusuf Abramjee of Tax Justice SA (TJSA) urged authorities to “wake-up”.
He was commenting on news that the suspects were caught with 400 ampoules – equivalent to around 2 400 doses –containing the fake vaccine that was found at a warehouse in Germiston, Gauteng. Interpol said the officers also recovered a large quantity of fake 3M masks and arrested three Chinese nationals and a Zambian national.
In a statement released to Al- Qalam, “Criminals exploiting the pandemic are endangering the lives of all South Africans,” says TJSA founder Yusuf Abramjee. “These crooks should spend their lives behind bars for such cynical and deadly racketeering.”
“Authorities and the public should be on their guard against organised criminal networks in illicit trade who have targeted the vaccine rollout as yet another way to loot the nation.”
“Interpol believes this could be only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Covid-19 vaccine-related crimes,” says Abramjee.
“The pandemic and lockdown have created huge opportunities for criminals and they’ve been quick to cash in.
“Lockdown prohibitions have led to an explosion in the illicit trade of alcohol and tobacco and criminal syndicates are always looking for ways to expand their portfolios.”
“A few weeks ago, unregistered medicines worth R126-million were seized at OR Tambo airport, indicating the immense sums involved.”
“As well as the obvious threat to life, illicit trade is also starving the fiscus of billions of rands that are desperately needed to fight the virus and rebuild the economy.”
“Authorities must wake up fast to the fact that illicit trade is an epidemic that must be treated with the strongest medicine.”
Every day approximately R250 million is looted from South Africa by the illicit economy, undermining the Government and the rule of law, and robbing its people of a brighter future.
Tax Justice South Africa is working to raise awareness of this national menace and show how these stolen funds could be used to build a better nation.
The campaign is supported by Makali Lepholisa, former Commissioner for Customs in Lesotho, and Andy Mashaile, Interpol Turn Back Crime Ambassador, who joined Abramjee as the Directors of Tax Justice South Africa.