Doctors Exposed in New Scam Targeting the Dead

  • A medical personnel holding a Covid-19 virus test kit.
    File image of a Covid-19 testing kit.
  • The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is probing a scam designed to milk money from grieving families through the issuance of fake Covid-19 certificates.

    The syndicate reportedly involves rogue doctors and mortuary officials, with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) issuing a statement on the matter. Kemri denied issuing fake Covid-19 certificates.

    The scam is said to be orchestrated by mortuary officials who will demand grieving families to provide signed Covid-19 certificates as a requirement before a body is taken in for preservation. 

    Police fetching a dead body in Kenya

    The morgue attendants then proceed to refer the loved ones to a doctor 'contracted' by the morgue to issue the certificates.

    The said 'doctors' issue fake positive Covid-19 certificates just to inflate the morgue charges by having families pay more for individuals suspected to have died from Covid-19.

    Jackson Muchiri fell prey to the con after his son Michael Maina passed away on Sunday, November 29.

    The family decided to transfer the body to a private mortuary and paid Ksh10,000 for the Covid-19 test in order for the morgue to determine how they would handle the body.

    The results returned positive and consequently hiked the charges from the usual Ksh16,500 that would have been billed if the results returned negative, to Ksh88,000 for the two days the body was in the morgue.

    Muchiri's wife, a staffer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) sought to get to the bottom of the hiked charges.

    The certificate had some glaring flaws as the samples taken indicated that they were taken on November 3, 26 days before Muchiri's death.

    The results were, however, emailed to the family on December 1, two days after the family paid for the test.

    After visiting Kemri, the Institute confirmed that the certificate was indeed fake and asked the family to report the matter to the DCI.

    A Juja based doctor is currently being held at Githingiri Police Station and is set to appear in Court with investigators also ordering the arrest of the lab technician.

    It is not clear the number of families that have fallen victim to the scheme.

    Kemri was forced to issue an alert to the public on rogue doctors producing fake Covid-19 certificates.

    "We wish to inform members of the public that KEMRI does NOT issue fake Covid-19 certificates. Our certificates have features that allow a port officer or any other officer of the law to verify them.

    "When in doubt, such officers have requested KEMRI to verify questionable documents for their authenticity which we have done judiciously," read a statement from Kemri.

    A mortuary
    A mortuary