Govt's Forensic Lab has only purchased one piece of equipment since 1980
Director of the Forensic Sciences Department, Birthwell Mutandiro has revealed that the government’s forensic science department is using obsolete equipment to investigate criminal cases. He revealed that this has resulted in a backlog of over 1600 cases of murder, rape and other crimes. Some of the cases date as far back as 2004. Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs, Mutandiro said:
The department has been operating below par such that there are urgent backlogs since 2004, and we have resorted to out-sourcing forensic investigations to countries like South Africa, Namibia or to private local laboratories.
The department is in serious need of capitalisation and since 1980, no forensic laboratory equipment has been purchased except one piece of equipment bought in 2014. What this means is that 37 years since independence, we have lagged behind scientifically in terms of forensic sciences and we are four generations behind.
Since 2014, the department received only $50 000 cumulatively, and there is serious lack of attention to the department.
The backlog in cases of rape and murder nationally stands at 1600. These cases require investigations and examinations using DNA equipment which costs $625 000, and another $50 000 for the chemicals and reagents. Equipment for examining forged documents costs around $126 000, but we have to do all that without any equipment due to lack of budgetary support.
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