And People Fell For It?

Victoria Police allege man impersonated COVID-19 inspector and demanded sex from woman

A headshot of Awow, who is wearing a grey jumper
Mr Awow did not apply for bail when he faced court this week. A man hired to help contact tracers in Victoria stalked a woman who was in isolation, turned up to her home and demanded sex, police allege.

Details of the alleged offending by 25-year-old Abdulfatah Omar Awow were revealed in police documents released by the Magistrates Court of Victoria on Friday.

Mr Awow was arrested last week and is facing more than 10 charges, including aggravated burglary, stalking, impersonating an authorised officer and attempting to procure a sexual act by threats and fraud.

Police said Mr Awow was hired by a company contracted to complete research and data analysis for the Department of Health’s COVID contact tracing team.

He had access to the personal details of people in isolation, and part of his role was to complete welfare checks.

On July 14, Mr Awow allegedly called a 31-year-old woman who was isolating in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, recorded her address and turned up to her house after his shift ended.

“She allowed the accused to enter her house on the understanding that he was a home inspection officer from the Department of Health,” Victoria Police Senior Constable Christopher Moloney wrote in a statement tendered to the court.

While in her bedroom, Mr Awow allegedly told the woman she was not complying with the orders of her isolation and could be “in a lot of trouble”. He is accused of warning the woman that she could be deported.

“The accused stated that other women whom he had checked on had complied with his requests and due to complying with his requests, they didn’t get in trouble,” police claimed.

Investigators allege Mr Awow used a translation app on the woman’s phone, writing: “You make me happy and I will lie for you and no one needs to know and you will be protected”.

The woman refused the alleged advances and told Mr Awow to leave. One of her housemates came out of their room and saw the altercation.

Before he walked out, police said the woman took a photo of the man who had come to her home.

Police allege Mr Awow called the woman a further five times, leaving her “traumatised and fearful”. In the days that followed, she returned to Sydney.

The health department launched an investigation after learning of the alleged incident and possible information leak. Victoria’s COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said genuine authorised officers always wore their uniforms while working, and would never ask to enter the home of someone in quarantine.

Mr Awow was eventually arrested and charged on August 12. Police said Mr Awow replied “no comment” to all questions put to him.

Senior Constable Moloney wrote Mr Awow had “not been co-operative” with police, and that investigators had not been able to recover his mobile phone.

The phone could contain “personal information of other people who were in a similar position” to the woman, police said.

Mr Awow is in custody and will face court again in November, after his lawyers withdrew a planned bail application on Thursday.

Mr Awow has since been sacked from his job.


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