Sunday December 17 2017

New DNA machine to ease investigation of criminal offences

Worth Shs2.3bn, the equipment will also help in

Worth Shs2.3bn, the equipment will also help in testing of metals in consumer goods, chemical analysis of cement for compliance to relevant standards, analysis of lead and other metals in petroleum fuels and trace metals in engine oil. Courtesy photo 

By EPHRAIM KASOZI

KAMPALA. Government has acquired state of the art genetic analyzer equipment to facilitate investigations into sensitive criminal offences and tracking of culprits to ease the administration of justice, senior officials have said.

Mr Tarsis Byamugisha, who heads the department of Criminalities and Laboratory Services said the newly acquired DNA equipment will facilitate investigations of crimes related to sexual assaults like rape, defilement and sodomy, murders in cold blood, identification of missing persons in accidents and mass deaths, identification of persons suspected in criminal activities as well as paternity and relationship testing.

Worth Shs2.3bn, the equipment will also help in testing of metals in consumer goods, chemical analysis of cement for compliance to relevant standards, analysis of lead and other metals in petroleum fuels and trace metals in engine oil.

Other applications include heavy and toxic metals in environmental samples such as soils, water, air particles, plant materials in airborne particulates, food and beverage samples and mineral analysis.

“This (equipment) is going to reduce the challenge of handling cases which require forensic investigations which has been a limiting step in the reduction of case backlog in courts. And with this system, Police will no longer have to arrest many people because the machine is an environmental monitor of contaminants,” Mr Byamugisha added.

State Minister for Internal Affairs, Obiga Mario Kania described the acquisition of the machine as scientific development that will facilitate better, more and quicker investigations for satisfaction.

“Evidence in investigations of culprits can easily be got with new technology acquired. The government analytical laboratories work is not only for criminal matters and therefore the next level is to popularize ourselves in solving social economic issues affecting our society,” said the minister.

Mr Kania asked the scientists at the Government Analytical Laboratory (GAL) to utilize the machine for preventive measures through investigations and expanding the scope and collaborate with other agencies to eliminate criminality in the country.

The Director of GAL, Mr Kepher Kuchana Kateu was optimistic that the new equipment would help in resolving the high number of case backlog which stand at 7200 due to lack of a secure laboratory working environment.

“The genetic analyzer is crucial in solving the murders. We have used it to bring murder culprits to book. With the high capacity of 40 cases at once, we are certain that output is going to increase and we know that whatever we give out is the right report,” said Mr Kateu adding that the GAL receives 30 to 40 cases a week.

ekasozi@ug.nationmedia.com

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