Govt to establish DNA database to ease criminal investigations

28Nov 2019
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Govt to establish DNA database to ease criminal investigations

THE Government Chemist Laboratory Authority (GCLA) is to establish a national human DNA database to facilitate fast analysis of samples during forensic investigations for timely delivery of justice, with intent to promote the rule of law.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Chief Government Chemist Dr Fidelice Mafumiko said the database will help to produce matches between the suspected individual and crime scene bio-markers, and then provides evidence to support criminal investigations. The method will also help to identify potential suspects in criminal investigation, he said.

“DNA databases help catch criminals, and not just any criminals. The main part of genetic evidence is collected in homicide and rape cases where databases are particularly useful in identifying people who have committed violent crimes,” he elaborated.

The work of constructing the database expected to end in the next two years, he stated.

GCLA shall work with various institutions in establishing the database, including the National Identification Authority (NIDA), E-Government Agency (EGA) and the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) in the preparation of a concept note, he further noted.

The government chief chemist used the opportunity to allay fears over concerns by the general public on DNA test costing, saying that its around 100,000/-to make a test on an individual, “and 300,000/- to conduct tests for a mother, child and father.”

He was presenting a talk on achievements of GCLA in the four years of the fifth phase under President Dr John Magufuli.

Dr Mafumiko said the authority has increased revenue collection with various initiatives it has put in place, rising from 9.342bn/- in the 2015/16 financial year to 24.246bn/- during the current calendar year.

GCLA was a department of the Ministry of Health up to 1999 when it changed   to the Government Chemist Laboratory Agency.

It was upgraded to an authority in 2016 via Act, No. 8 of 2016, where its empowering legislation provides that laboratory results issued by GCLA are final and conclusive.

The authority in collaboration with Treasury has removed 17 nuisance levies related to importation of chemicals, he pointed out.

“The removal of the levies was aimed at improving the ease of doing business in the country,” he added.