The Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory (DGAL) has construction of the National DNA databank has stalled due to lack of clearance of the land title and building designs.
According to Kepher Kuchana Kateu, the Director DGAL, over shs9 billion in meant for the project under the Ministry of Internal Affairs was returned to the Consolidated Fund.
Kateu told MPs that the land title given to DGAL for the project remained under the custody of Uganda Land Commission.
“When the building designs were submitted to KCCA for approval, there was a change in the requirements that all Government agencies must have land titles in their name. So they refused to approve our designs on that ground,” Kateu said.
He said this while appearing before the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs on Tuesday, 26 October 2021. The Committee was chaired by Hon. Rosemary Nyakikongoro.
Kateu added that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Internal Affairs wrote to the Permanent Secretary the at Lands Ministry, who in turn wrote to the Uganda Land Commission to process a separate certificate of title of the land situated in Wandegeya.
“The Covid-19 situation delayed the approval of this process, but in June 2021, KCCA wrote to the Secretary, Uganda Land Commission processing a separate certificate of title. If we successfully get this title, we shall be able to use the shs5 billion allocated this financial year,” said Kateu.
He told the Committee that full operationalisation of the DNA data bank will enhance security of the country and improve on criminal investigations.
DGAL officials also urged MPs to fast-track the Forensic Evidence and DNA Database Bill which they said is still before the First Parliamentary Counsel.
“With this Bill in place, the Internal Affairs Ministry will regulate chemical management among others and with a one per cent levy on all chemicals, Government will be able to collect shs9 billion as non-tax revenue,” Kateu said.
Other key DGAL priorities include case back log clearance whose budget gap is at shs5.6 billion, operationalisation of regional laboratories whose budget gap is shs12.4 billion and salary enhancement of staff whose budget gap is shs8.35 billion.
Nyakikongoro said the Committee will engage the Minister for Internal Affairs to follow up on bringing the Forensic Evidence and DNA Database Bill to Parliament.
“You will need to write a concrete paper that our Committee can use to follow up on the issues you have raised. The issue of recruitment needs to be pushed because how can Government provide money for this and then it is taken back at the end of the financial year?” she asked.