Police need N$30m to finalise pending DNA cases
07 September 2021 | Police
The Namibian Police Forensic Science Institute needs about N$30 million to complete a backlog of 4 375 pending DNA cases over the next three years.
The director of the institute, Commissioner Nelius Becker, said the main challenge delaying DNA cases is a lack of money to acquire reagents - substances used in chemical analysis.
Becker explained that a forensic screening test kit, which can be used for up to 360 cases, costs about N$600 000, while a forensic analysis kit costing N$1.5 million can complete 70 cases.
“We can manage the backlog cases over the next three years, provided that funds are made available. Our entire forensic budget cannot cover all the backlog; we need to look for a separate budget for DNA analysis,” he said.
Becker explained that the forensic investigation process is extremely costly and takes time, therefore many court cases are on hold pending sample testing of forensic evidence.
Not our fault
Echoing the same sentiments, Police Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga said the institute was functioning with minimal funds in ensuring that forensic investigation and analysis are accomplished as part of the criminal justice system.
He stressed that the police cannot be blamed for delayed samples as the main cause is lack of money and resources, adding that the police budget is limited and thus affecting the competence of the criminal justice system.
“Government is the main source of funding and it is very rare to get revenue from elsewhere. Prosecutors are frustrated because of delayed lab results.
“Some cases date back to 2016 to 2017 and justice delayed is justice denied, hence some criminals are walking out freely,” Ndeitunga stressed.
He said the police were working towards capacitating the institute by sending some police officers for forensic and investigation training.
He pleaded with the government for more funds in order to finalise more criminal cases.