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Issues hindering forensic growth

According to forensic experts, Tanzania’s forensic certification services are hampered from meeting local and international accreditation standards due to a lack of mandatory standardization, certification, and accreditation.

Speaking exclusively to The Citizen recently, Mr Wilson Jilala, a forensic expert from the National Museum of Tanzania, said: “By being accredited, you avoid providing services that might be questionable and rejected in court.” According to him, forensic evidence is the most important investigative tool available to the country’s adversarial system of justice and can help identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent. “Therefore, the accreditation of such laboratories signifies that the basis of a quality system is in place and operational. However, many laboratories in Tanzania are unable to provide services because they are not ISO compliant or accredited.

“Many laboratories located in universities and other government and non-government institutions have modern equipment and can thus provide forensic services if approved, empowered, and accredited,” he adds.

According to the forensic expert, the packaging and distance make the evidence vulnerable to contamination.And when DNA contamination occurs in forensic science, it has the potential to change the outcome of a criminal investigation and may have significant social and financial repercussions.

“For so many years, Tanzania has had numerous forensic-related issues reported in wildlife, banking, the media, and academia that went unnoticed due to a lack of enough experts assisting in professional investigation, analysis, and reporting,” he said.

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