THE Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) says it was not part of the investigations which were done by the Zambia Medicine Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) and the Zambia Revenue Authority on the fake COVID-19 vaccines imported by Valden Findlay.
Meanwhile, governance activist Brebner Changala says the destruction of evidence by ZAMRA is a criminal matter.
In an interview,DEC public relations officer Mathias Kamanga said vaccines do not fall under the categories of drugs which the Commission focuses on.
“The Drug Enforcement Commission was not part of the investigations that were done by ZAMRA on the COVID-19 vaccines. Indeed, we have offices at the International Airports but the vaccines do not fall under the categories of drugs that the DEC enforces which are either prohibited or controlled drugs. The Commission has not instituted investigations into the “fake COVID-19 vaccines” case but is looking into other matters that relate to Mr Findlay,” said Kamanga.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Changala said ZAMRA had a lot of questions they needed to answer.
“ZAMRA has got a lot of questions they must answer as to why they have allowed this kind of act to continue. From the Honeybee, now we have this vaccine. They might have been compromised by the previous regime because the importer of these vaccines is a close friend to Edgar Lungu and that is why they kept it a secret. And nobody must wash this matter away, it must be investigated. In this case, the DEC and police must arrest people involved in this crime, the importer, the director of the company must immediately be arrested so that they can give full details. There is nowhere in the world where vaccines are being moved by individuals,” Changala said.
He said the destruction of evidence by ZAMRA was a criminal matter.
“I invite the DEC and the state police to move and investigate this matter in its totality because at the centre of this is human life. Because of the proximity of the accused to the former Head of State, from July to August, they were trying to hide something and the Chrismar Earthmoving Equipment was supposed to be prosecuted, so how do you prosecute when you have destroyed evidence? That is a criminal matter. Destruction of evidence is a serious criminal matter and it must fall on the shoulders of ZAMRA. The seven year period of Edgar Lungu must be investigated in all spheres of concerns, road construction, health, education, and breakdown in the rule of law,” said Changala.
“My concern is that the day that the vaccines were imported, the nation was supposed to know but ZAMRA kept that as a secret and yet after the general election, they went and destroyed them secretly without the presence of the media as it is normally done by the DEC. That is an anomaly and a great concern to the citizenry.”
Last week ZAMRA said it did not test the substances that were illegally imported by Valden Findlay’s company to ascertain if they were truly Covid-19 vaccines.
And when asked whether the Authority has considered taking any legal action against Findlay, ZAMRA declined to comment.
According to The Medicines and Allied Substances Act of 2013, Part IX, Section 59, any person who imports sub-standard, counterfeit or misbranded medicines is guilty of a crime and must be prosecuted before the said substances can be forfeited and destroyed.
Meanwhile, Dr Malama declined to respond to questions contained in a press query regarding how the drugs were brought into the country, saying his ministry only got to know about the purported vaccines once they were at the airport.