Africa BioSystems’ Biotechnologist Amy Wahome hands over DNA sampling kits to Deputy government chemist Ali Gakweli (right) at government chemist offices, Nairobi. The equipment will be used for DNA forensics at Government chemists. The equipment was donated by Africa Biosystems Limited looking on is John Kimani Mungai of Government chemist (centre) on November 5, 2013 PHOTO/ANTHONY OMUYA
- The DNA sampling kit was donated to the Government Chemist at Kenyatta National Hospital, by two Kenyan companies Africa Biosystems Limited and Life Technologies to help in collecting evidence in the gang-rape of the Busia pupil for months ago, and other victims of sexual abuse.
- Each kit costs Ksh.510,000 kit and contains 200 samples that are set to take DNA profiling a notch higher and help law enforcement build strong cases against rape offenders.
The government Chemist Tuesday received a donation of cutting edge test kits for DNA sampling to be used in DNA forensics.
The kit will be used in the collection and analysis of DNA, later used as evidence in criminal investigation.
Using DNA forensic techniques, DNA provides a record of a particular person being in a particular place, scene of crime especially rape cases.
The DNA sampling kit was donated to the Government Chemist at Kenyatta National Hospital, by two Kenyan companies Africa Biosystems Limited and Life Technologies to help in collecting evidence in the gang-rape of the Busia pupil for months ago, and other victims of sexual abuse
Each kit costs Ksh.510,000 kit and contains 200 samples that are set to take DNA profiling a notch higher and help law enforcement build strong cases against rape offenders.
Using this kit, the government chemist in liaison with the police will be guaranteed to bring rapists to the book in less than three weeks.
“Together we will help gather evidence needed to prosecute Liz’s rapists and help other rape survivors. The evidence gathered using DNA technology can lead to convictions and ultimately is a way to seek justice for all women like Liz, said Ms Amy Wahome from the makers of the kit.
ONE OPERATIONAL LAB
Ali Gakweli, Deputy Chief Government Chemists, said it was challenging having only one operational chemist in Nairobi serving the whole country. “Presently, all cases (from all over the country) are being referred to the Nairobi lab.” He was however quick to point out that the government was working to operationalize a lab in Mombasa and later on in Kisumu. “During such tests, time is usually the greatest constraint and since we have only one Government Chemist here in Nairobi it poses a great challenge, with these kits we however will be able to bridge this challenge,” he said. The office also confirmed that the much awaited data bank had not gone beyond legislation. When implemented, the data bank is set to help law enforcers as it will make the identification of sexual offenders much easier and increase efforts of curbing the crime. Speaking during the kit handover, Africa Biosystems Limited Managing director Yasmin Verjee explained “The kit makes multiple copies of DNA and the markers of the DNA are analyzed. This technology is important because it uses on a very small biological sample to get a DNA profile for analysis. This will help prosecute perpetrators of this heinous crime.” The implication of this technology is that small amounts of evidence are required to make a conclusive identification of the culprit guaranteeing a conviction when they are brought to justice. Ms Lydia Muthiani, Deputy Director Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) decried escalating cases of rape saying, “No girl or woman must be allowed to suffer and those found culpable should be punished for their crime.”
She described as unfortunate, remarks by police that it would difficult to link the suspects of the 16-year old girl with rape because the crime was allegedly reported late. The suspects in the June 26 attack are yet to get arrested. Studies indicate that eight out of 10 women and girls in Kenya experience some form sexual violence and do not receive justice as the offenders walk away due to lack of evidence.