A Dhaka court on Tuesday sentenced JKG Healthcare Chairman Dr Sabrina Arif Chowdhury and seven others to 11 years of imprisonment each for issuing fake Covid-19 test reports.
Dhaka Additional Metropolitan Magistrate Tofazzal Hossain declared the verdict.
The others convicted in the case were Sabrina's husband, JKG Healthcare CEO Ariful Huque Chowdhury, Shafiqul Islam Romeo, Humayun Kabir Himu, Himu's wife Tanzina Patwary, Jebunnesa Rima, Abu Sayeed Chowdhury, and Biplab Das.
After the verdict, public prosecutor Abdullah Abu told the media that the eight accused were sentenced to three years of imprisonment and Tk3,000 fine each for cheating, four years of imprisonment and Tk4,000 fine each for forging fake Covid-19 reports, and four years of imprisonment and Tk4,000 fine each, for providing those fake certificates to people.
The three sentences will run consecutively, said the public prosecutor.
The judge observed in his verdict that the frauds played with people's lives by issuing fake Covid-19 certificates.
The verdict cited the confessional statement of JKG's former staff member, Humayun Kabir, who said JKG Healthcare staffers would collect samples for Covid-19 tests, but throw them away without testing.
Humayun Kabir also said JKG Chairman Sabrina Arif Chowdhury, and her husband JKG CEO Ariful Haque Chowdhury, played a major role in this scam.
JKG Healthcare collected samples for Covid-19 tests in different parts of the country including Dhaka. It issued false Covid-19 positive reports to around 27,000 people without testing any of those samples.
On 23 June 2020, JKG Healthcare was raided and sealed, and a case was filed with Tejgaon police station against six people, including JKG CEO Ariful Chowdhury, for providing fake Covid-19 test reports.
Police arrested Ariful and five other employees of the organisation on the same day. Dr Sabrina was arrested on 12 July 2020 after police were informed of her alleged involvement.
On 20 August 2020, the court of Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Sharifuzzaman Ansari framed charges against the accused.
Among the accused, Himu, Tanzila, and Romeo pleaded guilty and testified in court.