One of the victims of a paternity test scandal that has resulted in a lab technician pleading guilty to falsifying results, says she was humiliated by the experience and will now go for another test to clear her name.
The 30-year-old Tsumeb woman, who preferred to remain anonymous so that her child would not be victimised, said she was one of the six women who reported being duped by lab technician John Henry Hagstrom, who was recently found guilty by the Health Professions Council of Namibia (HPCN).
She said she does not want her baby’s father to be involved in their lives, but simply wants to clear her name after the false paternity result two years ago.
“I want another test. I do not want him in the life of my child. I want to clear my name and I want to show him that I can take care of my child by myself,” she said.
The woman said her ordeal began when she told her ex-boyfriend she was pregnant.
“We were separated when I fell pregnant and I moved on with my life, but when I told him that he is father he denied this and that is how we ended up at the court.”
When she arrived at Hagstrom’s office on the day of the paternity test, she found her ex-boyfriend conversing with the lab technician, who asked him about money.
“What was funny is that he (Hagstrom) asked him where the money was, and he said he must go and withdraw at the ATM. Also weird was the fact Hagstrom had my ex-boyfriend’s number on his cellphone,” she said.
“When I went there later to ask about the results of the test, I was told they would not tell me, but would contact my ex-boyfriend first and I would only know through him,” she added.
When the result came that her ex-boyfriend was apparently not the child’s father, people in her community started taunting her and questioned her character.
“I knew that someday the truth will come out, because God is alive. For two years now my child did not have a father. She calls my brother daddy. I know who the father of my child is, despite Hagstrom’s paternity test saying he is not,” she said.
The distraught woman said she was alerted by media reports about what happened to Hagstrom.
“It was sad and painful for me and then I realised that there many other children out there whose fathers ran away, but they are surviving with their mothers. My mother helps me with the upbringing of my child.”
She said the father of her daughter had already shown that he is not interested.
“But I want him to know that I know that he is the father and that we all know he is the father.
“It was not an easy period, but I am glad it is finally coming to an
HPCN’s legal manager Johanna Nghishekwa has urged others that may have been duped by Hagstrom to come forward.
She said that they should make their way to the HPCN office.
It has been alleged that Hagstrom accepted bribes to falsify paternity tests in support of those denying fatherhood.
According to the HPCN, Hagstrom falsified paternity results without even bothering to send samples for testing.
Hagstrom pleaded guilty to all charges and was suspended from practicing and earning an income from his profession for a period of two years.
In addition, Hagstrom was fined N$30 000.
WINDHOEK KENYA KAMBOWE/ ELVIS MURARANGANDA