By JIMMY KALEBE
A MAN who was caught allegedly selling “forged” green vaccination cards has been told by the court he could face a “higher penalty” if he had also breached the National Pandemic Act.
Lae Senior Magistrate Pius Tapil told Allan Steven, 38, of Keteve village in Okapa, Eastern Highlands, that the business he was allegedly engaged in was very serious.
“I hope the police is on top of this case,” he said.
He added that it was the first Covid-19-related charge “of this nature” to come before the court.
Steven was charged with forgery, uttering false documents (Covid-19 green vaccination cards) and issuing them to the public.
Magistrate Tapil told the police prosecution to check with the arresting office if what Steven was charged with also came under the National Pandemic Act.
He said if the police prosecution confirmed that the charges fell under the National Pandemic Act, then the court would consider it at the next hearing on Nov 8.
Tapil told Steven that offences under the National Pandemic Act could carry “a very high penalty”.
Steven is on remand at the Lae Police Station. The court was told that Steven, a student at a training institute in Lae, had allegedly committed the offences between Sept 16 and Oct 26.
Police alleged that Steven used a computer and a printer to do the scanning, then used the Buimo Health Centre official stamp and the signature of a medical officer on the cards.
The court heard that Steven then distributed the cards to around 80 people who needed vaccination cards for the purpose of employment or other reasons.
Police arrested him on Tuesday when he was trying to sell four of the green vaccination cards for K50 each to a private security firm employee.
The court heard that after being arrested, he admitted the offence to police, and later led officers to his house where the equipment he had used were.
Police confiscated the equipment.
By JIMMY KALEBE