Court clears doctor accused of selling fake Covid-19 test kits

Dr Pancholi

 Dr Pranav Pancholi, a cosmetic dermatologist and CEO of Avane Cosmetic Clinic in Nairobi.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote I Nation Media Group

Cosmetic specialist Dr Pranav Pancholi of Avane Cosmetic Dermatology Clinic and Medical Spa is off the hook after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) dropped charges against him.

Dr Pancholi – got into trouble in March 2020 when his clinic at Yaya Centre in Nairobi was raided by government authorities.

The raid followed a social media advertisement, that was informing Kenyans to order for a piece of Covid-19 rapid test kits, which the clinic had procured for abroad, at Sh3,000.

Following the raid, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC) fined the doctor Sh500,000, suspended his licence and ordered the clinic closed.

A criminal case was subsequently lodged at the Milimani Law Courts by the Office of DPP (ODPP) against the doctor and a staff member at Avane Clinic.

They were charged with publishing false advertisement and operating a medical institution without a licence.

“We are happy that our client has been absolved of any criminal activities,” says High Court Advocate Andrew Muge of MAK & Partners Advocates, who represented the doctor in the case.

In a Court Order dated July 7, 2022 (a copy of which Nation.Africa is in possession of) Senior Resident Magistrate of Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi, Muthoni Njagi, takes note that ODPP had dropped the charges against Dr Pancholi.

“It is hereby ordered that the first accused person charges have been withdrawn under Section 87A Criminal Procedure Code. He is Set at liberty unless lawfully held,” the order reads. The magistrate also ordered bails of the accused refunded.

Fully get back

Mr Muge notes that the criminal case has effectively ended; allowing the doctor and the clinic to fully get back to medical operations.

Dr Pancholi’s medical license was reinstated by KMPDC after the six months of suspension elapsed. Avane Clinic, says the doctor, is fully back in operations.

“I am deeply thankful both to the council and also to our lawyers for getting us back to work. We want to continue serving our patients,” the doctor says. “The case had held me back from giving my patients full attention.”

Avane Clinic now operates three clinics in Nairobi: at Yaya Centre, Park Suites in Parklands and off UN Close in Gigiri.

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