JPM tells security organs to protect Govt Chemist staff

21Aug 2019
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
JPM tells security organs to protect Govt Chemist staff

PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday ordered national security organs to protect forensic and chemical technicians at the Government Chemist Laboratory Authority (GCLA) who examine exhibits in high-profile cases.

PRESIDENT John Magufuli.

Speaking during a visit to GCLA offices in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Dr Magufuli  directed that the office which authenticates exhibits of seized narcotic drugs and other contrabands and reports used by prosecution in courts, be empowered to work independently without interference.

“I know that previously you used to analyze exhibits but your reports were being blocked because you had no powers. Now you have powers, do your work,” a statement by the Directorate of Presidential Communications quoted the president as having affirmed.

The office which was established in 1895 by German imperial authorities has since independence operated as a department in the Ministry of Health until 1999 when it changed to Government Chemist Laboratory Agency before becoming an authority in 2016 when the Government Chemist Laboratory Authority Act stated operating.

During the visit, President Magufuli was shown state-of-the-art machines used in forensic and chemical analysis. He commended the office for a good job done in the DNA analysis relating to recent tragedies including victims of the oil tanker explosion in Morogoro, the statement said.

“The president applauded the good job being done by GCLA including analysis of narcotic drug exhibits and appearing in courts as prosecution witnesses,” he said.

The government decided to empower GCLA by purchasing modern equipment, employing more staff and elevating its status to an authority after realizing the important role it plays in DNA analysis and the pursuit of justice, among others.

He directed the GCLA board chairperson, Prof Ester Jason and Chief Government Chemist Dr Fidelice Mafumiko to oversee the proper use of huge sums of money released by the government for equipment and chemicals.

Speaking earlier, Dr Mafumiko thanked the government for releasing 5.338bn/- which has been used to buy equipment and hiring additional staff, leading to the increase of manpower from 110 to 294.

He said for four years now from 2015, a total of 204,974 samples have been analyzed, an average of 51,244 sample per year—an increase of 510 per cent compared to records of previous years.

Court appearances have also increased from 35 per month in 2015 to 220 in 2019, the statement added.