Operationalisation of the National Forensic Laboratory that was initially set for 2015 continues to stall due to difficulties in purchasing the right equipment for the facility, members of the parliamentary Standing Commission on National Budget and Patrimony heard last week.
The Rwf7 billion facility was planned to be up and running by 2015, but the deadline was missed due to a number of factors, including finances, which were not-readily available at the time.
Appearing before the Commission to discuss sectoral Budget Proposal for 2017/18 fiscal year, the Minister for Justice, Johnston Busingye, said that though a forensic laboratory would add significant value in preventing crimes, procurement issues had slowed down the whole process to have it open.
“One of the biggest challenges we have when it comes to such processes is the tender process. However, in this particular case, while we have bought laboratory equipment among other forensic laboratory materials, we had to return some of it more than once because it didn’t meet the specifications we had originally ordered for,” he said.
However, the minister explained that skilled personnel had already been trained and we are looking for more employees to work at the facility and promised that the facility should be operational as soon as possible.
The long-awaited forensic facility will be an important addition in terms of providing scientific evidence while also significantly slashing down the cost of evidence-gathering.
Previous reports from Rwanda National Police indicates that Rwanda spends about Rwf800,000 to ship a single sample to Germany or the UK.
MPs task minister
MP Suzanne Mukayijore wondered why, in its tendering process, the Government continued to deal with companies that are costing time and money.
“You have told us that this equipment was ordered and brought then taken back several times, is there an end in sight for such,” she wondered.
To this, Busingye said that though it was unfortunate that the equipment had to be returned, it was all in national interest because they wanted the laboratory to run with first class equipment so they were being thorough about every single detail.