Delayed UTH Forensic Lab Works Worry Simbyakula

HOME Affairs Minister Ngosa Simbyakula has lashed out at a committee instituted to supervise the construction of the forensic laboratory at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).

Dr Simbyakula said it was unacceptable that the construction of a department vital for analysing highly sophisticated crime samples had remained dormant for more than eight years.

He said members of the public had been raising concerns over the delay in the construction of the structure which was not only vital for forensic analysis but also for Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) tests which was now costing K3, 000 per sample.

“The situation is that the forensic sample is flown to South Africa for analysis. Now this takes 120 days to be released at a cost of K3,000 per sample, this is expensive depending on how many samples have been sent. I will ensure that all the challenges are resolved,” he said.

The minister was speaking when he toured the forensic department at UTH and Zambia Police Headquarters in Lusaka yesterday.

Dr Simbyakula said Government would ensure that it irons out challenges like legal documentation, procurement procedures and funds in order to have the building completed within 90 days.

Meanwhile, the minister has said law enforcement agencies are geared to fight perpetrators of highly sophisticated crime in the country following the installation of various types of equipment.

Dr Simbyakula said the country had acquired equipments able to detect highly sophisticated crime including the hacking of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), cellular phones, fake signatures and fake currency.

Deputy inspector general of police Solomom Jere attributed the delay in the construction of the forensic laboratory to the lack of commitment by the previous Government which was not releasing funds for the project on time.

Dr Jere said under the Patriotic Front (PF), remarkable progress had been scored and said once the minister’s office facilitated the required documentation, the process could be completed within the required 90 days.

Inspector general of Police, Stella Libongani asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to facilitate the recruitment of specialised personnel to handle special cases which were currently being managed by expatriate doctors.

“Currently we have 18, 200 police officers countrywide, we need 27,000. Our plea is to facilitate the same through regular recruitment, I must say the current Government has tried to recruit more and beef up security in the country,” she said in her office after Dr Simbyakula toured the forensic department.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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