A NAMIBIA Institute of Pathology (NIP) employee accused of falsifying dozens of negative Covid-19 test results has told a magistrate she did not commit any crime.
“I am innocent in this matter,” Uilka Nuunyango (34) said while testifying before magistrate Linus Samunzala during a bail hearing in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
“I did not commit this crime,” she said, after telling the magistrate it was possible that some of her colleagues at the NIP could have made use of her account on the NIP’s computer system to make the changes on Covid-19 test results over which she has been charged.
Nuunyango is accused of having falsified 53 Covid-19 test results issued by the NIP between January and June this year.
The state is alleging that she created test results showing people had tested negative for the novel coronavirus when such tests had in fact not been done.
She is charged with counts of fraud, corruptly using false documents, corruptly using her position as an enrolled nurse at the NIP for gratification, and forging Covid-19 test results and uttering the forged documents.
Nuunyango was arrested on 8 June and has been held in custody since then.
During her bail hearing she has also told the magistrate that after she was informed on 8 June that she was being suspended from her position at the NIP and was also arrested, she sent a resignation notice to the NIP the next day.
However, she now wants to withdraw her resignation, Nuunyango said, as she was in a state of shock, and “not in the right state of mind” when she decided to resign.
According to Nuunyango, the only changes she made on the patient records of people who had Covid-19 tests done at the NIP was to correct errors in the spelling of names, wrong dates of birth, wrong indications of patients’ sex, and wrong addresses.
A police officer investigating the matter, detective warrant officer Hafeni Nashidengo, testified yesterday that the allegations against Nuunyango are that she changed the names and other personal details on 53 genuine Covid-19 test results by inserting the names and personal information of people who had not been tested for Covid-19, that she then printed the changed test results and afterwards changed the details back to what it had been originally.
The test results, which she changed and printed with different names, were negative for the novel coronavirus, Nashidengo said.
Each change made on the NIP’s patient records was recorded by its computer system and showed that the changes had been made using Nuunyango’s computer username, he said.
The Covid-19 test results provided by the NIP could be used by people to travel out of Namibia, and with the use of falsified test results people infected with the novel coronavirus could have been spreading the virus, Nashidengo said.
Under cross-examination from defence lawyer Nambili Mhata, Nashidengo acknowledged he did not have evidence that Nuunyango received payments to provide people with falsified test results.
However, he suspected her motive had been to receive gratification of some sort, and that was an aspect of the case which he still had to investigate, he said.
The hearing is scheduled to continue on Monday next week.
Public prosecutor Sylvia Kauluma is representing the state.