Covid test firm in fraud allegation said GGD told them to issue QR codes
Covid-19 testing company Spoedtest.nl said it created coronavirus recovery certificates at the request of health service GGD. The company responded to a Ministry of Health announcement that Spoedtest.nl was no longer suspected of vaccination certificate fraud but did incorrectly create Covid recovery certificates.
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Public Health stopped its cooperation with Spoedtest.nl, one of the larger commercial test providers in the Netherlands, on suspicion of fraud. Caretaker Minister Hugo de Jonge said there were "strong suspicions" that the company wrongfully issued certificates showing people were vaccinated against Covid-19. The Ministry noticed suspicious signs and submitted their allegations to a forensic agency for investigation. That agency concluded that fraudulent vaccination certificates were issued.
Information from the company showed that recovery certificates were issued on a large scale, the Ministry said on Thursday. But there was no fraud involved, a spokesperson explained. The people for whom the recovery certificates were issued had recently tested positive, but the GGD should have issued the recovery certificates.
However, according to Spoedtest.nl director Rasmus Emmelkamp, the company issued these certificates at the GGD's request. The GGD "obliged" the company to use the HKVI system to create recovery certificates for people who asked for one after they recovered from the coronavirus, he said. Vaccination certificates can also be made in HKVI. It was therefore confusing for spoedtest.nl why the company would start working with the system, explained Emmelkamp.
He also thinks that the Ministry said that Spoedtest.nl was committing fraud with vaccine certificates because of that confusion. The allegation was withdrawn on Thursday, but the statement that Spoedtest.nl issued recovery certificates when it was not allowed is incorrect. Emmelkamp: "We issued certificates to people who had tested positive with us, but that is because the GGD obliged us to do so."
Spoedtest.nl got reconnected with the CoronaCheck app from Thursday afternoon, the company said. People can also again make an appointment with the company via Testing for Access. The company no longer uses HKVI. Emmelkamp: "And if people ask for proof of recovery, we refer them to the GGD."
The Ministry of Public Health said it is aware of the testing company's stance. An investigation into exactly what happened is still ongoing, a spokeswoman said. The Ministry emphasized that it agreed with test companies that they are not allowed to issue proof of recovery themselves.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.