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Why it will take shorter period to get DNA results at Government Chemists

By Cyrus Ombati | August 29th 2019

It will now take a shorter period to get DNA results from the Government Chemists.

This follows a move to acquire new hi-tech machines that will enhance the analysis of samples collected from various scenes.

The 3500 Series Genetic Analysers that have been installed in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa offices will also help in clearing a backlog of cases that have been pending because of lack of capacity.

Government Chemist Ali Gakweli revealed they intend to work for longer hours to clear the cases that are now pending before courts given that the new machines have larger capacity and can analyse many stains within a short time.

 “The new machine can handle 24 stains within 45 minutes and this means the output is enhanced,” said Gakweli.

The other machine used earlier could handle 16 stains in similar time.

He added they intend to open a new office in Isiolo to address cases in the northern region.

Gakweli said they will now need steady flow of reagents to be able to address the issues at hand. He added they are the only ones who have the capacity to conduct skeleton remains analysis.

“The type of instruments acquired at Sh40 million are the first genetic analysers designed with a specific feature set and workflow for the Human Identification application. This means they can now conduct DNA analysis within a short period of time,” Gakweli said.

“We handle both public and private cases. Let those intending to conduct DNA tests come to us now,” he added.

The machines will be put into use to solve many unsolved cases including murder, robbery with violence, rape and housebreaking among others.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i unveiled the equipment and promised to enhance service delivery in government. The Government Chemist was recently moved from Ministry of Health to Interior where they will be working with Directorate of Criminal Investigation’s forensic department.

The Government Chemist is handling the forensic chemistry and forensic biology which are more complicated while the DCI is handling finger prints, cybercrime, ballistics and handwriting analysis.

“We are now working with DCI and other departments well in efforts to solve many cases that are emerging and pending,” said Gakweli.

Many crimes go unsolved because police lack a laboratory to help them in handling some of the complicated ones that need forensic analysis.

The service relies on foreign laboratories to conduct tests for evidence on issues under probe. 

The police forensic laboratory is based at the DCI headquarters. According to a strategic plan launched recently, the DCI plans to spend a staggering Sh7.6 billion in mobilizing operations of the forensic laboratory.

The money is part of the Sh38.5 billion that the inspectorate earmarks for revamping its operations in the next three years.

The inspectorate plans to spend Sh14.2 million in training and developing specilised investigative capacity, Sh1.6 billion in completion of the construction of the forensic laboratory, Sh4 billion in equipping it and Sh2 billion in devolving forensic services to counties and sub-counties in the period.

This will among others see its population increased from current 5,436 to 10, 500 as it seeks to expand its services to all counties.

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