Kenya has yet again set the quality benchmark for forensic and criminal investigation in East and Central Africa following the acquisition of three industry leading equipment by the Government Chemist’s Department.
The Department’s Nairobi headquarters and each of its Mombasa and Kisumu branches now have the 3500xL Genetic Analyzer, a trailblazing instrument for DNA analysis for crime detection and parentage testing.
Speaking after unveiling the machine in Nairobi, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiangi exuded confidence that Kenya has now joined various first-world countries offering top-tier forensic services and DNA technology for disaster victim identification (DVI) and collection of evidence for adjudication in criminal cases and arbitration of disputed paternity.
“We have been trying to find the best solutions to our challenges in criminal investigation. It is no secret that we have some fairly sensitive but unresolved murder cases in our country, and the acquisition of this machine is one of the first steps towards the achievement of our objectives in this field,” Dr. Matiangi said.
The equipment offers a shorter average run time and enhanced throughput of samples than the previous series. As such, it can expeditiously analyse several DNA samples on evidential material collected from crime scenes. It is also customized with an ultramodern system of components and software that maximizes information recovery even from degraded DNA samples.
This will ultimately expedite access to justice through quick conviction of criminals and, equally importantly, exoneration of innocent individuals.
The Department’s forensic biology section has been struggling with a backlog of analyses, some of which are directly connected to various dragged-out criminal and civil court cases.
To solve this issue, the Cabinet Secretary asserted that the government will step up its infrastructural, technical, and logistical support for the Department to help it increase its capacity and ultimately transform it into a trendsetter in the region and the continent.
He said: “We will invest more resources in acquiring more sophisticated equipment here at the headquarters as well as the Kisumu and Mombasa branches. We are also considering establishing another branch that will serve the Northern region of our country.”
His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta moved the Government Chemist’s Department to the Ministry of Interior in a strategic move aimed at strengthening the institutional relationship with the Crime Research Centre (CRC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) as part of the government’s efforts to reform the criminal justice system.
Dr. Matiangi also divulged that plans are underway to improve cooperation between the investigating agencies and the Judiciary to smoothen prosecution of cases and delivery of justice and save time and resources.
The Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Patrick Ole Ntutu, Principal Secretary, Dr. Karanja Kibicho, and the Inspector General of the National Police, Hillary Mutyambai, were among the senior state officers present.