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Man sentenced in Belfast over HIV/Aids treatment scam

A 31-year-old man from Zimbabwe, was today sentenced at Belfast Magistrates' Court to 240 hours community service plus 947 costs for fraud by false representation.
Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Admare Jinga who currently lives in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, was charged with fraud by false representation for selling worthless medical devices over the internet that he claimed cured and killed HIV/Aids.

He had previously pleaded guilty to the sale and supply of an unlicensed medicine and he was convicted of the Fraud Act offence at a trial on 11 June 2013.

It is the first ever prosecution of its kind in Northern Ireland, as a result of a joint investigation by officials from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), London and the Medicines Regulatory Group (MRG) from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) in Belfast.

The machine, which he sold online through his south Belfast based company Savec Health Systems Ltd, was found to be simply a pain relief device which transmitted electric current to stimulate the nerves. The gas that was sold alongside it was flavoured oxygen with a vial supposedly containing nano silver, when in fact it contained only water. Jinga was selling the bogus machine for £149 with the accessories costing £29.99.

MHRA’s Director of Devices, John Wilkinson said: “Our investigation revealed that Jinga was purely and simply running a scam over the internet. His machine could not diagnose HIV infection or kill the virus.

“This man is a criminal, not a healthcare professional, and all he wants to do is take money from vulnerable people.

“Cases such as this serve to highlight the dangers associated with purchasing medical devices as well as medicines over the internet.

“If anyone is concerned that they have purchased this machine then please speak to your GP or pharmacist. If people are going to use the internet to obtain a medical device, we urge them to research the company, phone the referees and testimonials, and if possible speak to real people who have purchased the product and are happy with the result.

“People should buy medical devices that have a CE mark. A CE mark means that the device meets the relevant regulatory requirements and, when used as intended, works properly and is acceptably safe. There are no known cures for HIV so any claim to this effect is illegal."

Professor Mike Mawhinney, Head of the Medicines Regulatory Group in Northern Ireland added: “This conviction and sentence sends out a clear message to those wishing to profit from other people’s illness and anxiety. Mr Jinga was involved in an illegal scam, which was both unsavoury and dangerous, by selling a machine and medicinal product which had no therapeutic benefits.

"This case is another excellent example of local and national joint agency cooperation which has contributed significantly to public safety both here and further afield.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Media enquiries about this press release to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0575, or out of office hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.