Modern forensic machine to speed up probe, says CS

Friday, August 30th, 2019 08:00 |
Government Chemist Ali Gakweli (right) with Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i (centre) during the unveiling of a modern forensic machine in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/TABITHA MBATIA

The Government Chemist has acquired a modern genetic analyser that is expected to identify criminals and speed up criminal and civil investigations. 

The Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i yesterday launched the 3500xL genetic analyser which has the capacity to handle 24 samples and give results within 45 minutes.

This, the CS said, is expected to increase suspect identification rate in cases such as murder, rape and burglary when DNA is available at the crime scene, and increase the number of convictions as well as certainty. 

In one of the cases that epitomises sexual brutality in the country, and which the new equipment is expected to resolve, the Government Chemist on Wednesday received samples from a victim and suspects of defilement for analysis and comparison. The victim is a six-week-old girl who was defiled and killed in Nairobi. 

Brutal attack

Nobody witnessed the brutal attack on the defenceless baby, neither were there CCTV cameras at the scene. However, based on preliminary investigations, police managed to arrest a few suspects who are in custody.

It is wherever they stepped, whatever they touched, and whatever they left at the scene and on the victim’s body that might serve as a silent witness against them, and with proper forensic analysis help detectives not only point their finger in the right direction but also exonerate the innocent. 

CS Matiang’i while speaking at the institution said the equipment would solve such cases among other fairly sensitive and unresolved murders expeditiously.

The CS was accompanied by his Principal secretary Karanja Kibicho, the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, the head of Serious Crime at the DCI headquarters Obadiah Kuria and a representative from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP). 

The state-of-the-art machine, he added, would guarantee an increase in prosecutions and convictions in both criminal and civil cases, since it is easy to find the DNA samples which are found in blood, skin cells, hair and all around the human body.

He said the government intended to put more resources  to equip the Mombasa and Kisumu branches in order to increase prosecution, adding that  DNA evidence was one of the most effective tools available in modern law enforcement in prosecution.

Expedite investigations

Mutyambai said the National Police Service was one of the beneficiaries as the equipment would expedite investigations, act as a deterrent, and also play a key role in systematic crime reduction.

He said detectives would also be trained on DNA collection and evidence handling to better understand DNA and how to use it effectively in prosecuting a case.

“The effective use of DNA requires an integrated approach. Efficiency and quality in the laboratory can only be achieved through changes to evidence collection and increased coordination with prosecuting attorneys,” added the IG.

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