HomeBlogThe Need For Regional Government Analytical Laboratories In The Fight Against Counterfeit Products In Uganda

The Need For Regional Government Analytical Laboratories In The Fight Against Counterfeit Products In Uganda

The Government Analytical Laboratory is a Directorate under the Ministry of Internal Affairs that provides specialized analytical and advisory services to Government departments responsible for the administration of justice. 

The Government Analytical Laboratory helps government to provide and ensure internal security through increased use of scientific evidence based investigations. The directorate in its day to day operations is guided by various pieces of legislation which include but not limited to the Fire Arms Act cap 299, the Evidence Act cap 6, the Magistrates Courts’ Act cap 16, the National Drug Policy and Authority act cap 206, the National Bureau of Standards act and the Adulteration of Produce Act cap 27 etc. 

The Scientific investigations conducted by the Government Analytical Laboratory are important in the security and safety of the person and property. The Government Analytical Laboratory is a strategic stakeholder in supporting the monitoring and enforcement of quality assurance in value chain additions.

This is important to product owners as well as the consumers in the fight against counterfeit products because the Directorate is a stake holder in ensuring that the quality of the products of the manufacturer are maintained through aiding law enforcement agencies to determine what is counterfeit and what isn’t through carrying out independent analysis of the exhibits brought to the Directorate from Police for testing and generating an analytical report. 

 

This according to section 103(1) of the Magistrates courts act is admissible as evidence.

This report is what would corroborate the assertions of the product owner that what has been recovered is counterfeit.

 The state prosecutors in various jurisdictions across the country always insist on having the government analytical report attached on the police case file before it is sanctioned for the suspect to appear in court over the charges of counterfeiting of trademarks.

The challenge with taking counterfeit products to the Directorate is that there is only one Government analytical laboratory located at Wandegeya in Kampala in the Central region of the country.

The fact that there is only one Laboratory of its kind presents a challenge to law enforcement in the country because all cases concerning counterfeits arising from other parts of the country that will require analysis will all have to be done at the Wandegeya lab.

Case officers have to incur costs to travel all the way from up country stations like Adjumani, Moroto, Gulu, Arua, Kabale, Busia and Elegu to Kampala in Wandegeya and deliver samples of the counterfeits recovered so that they can be analyzed in order to complete investigations.

The question of the safety of these exhibits also arises as unforeseen circumstances like road accidents may occur leading to there destruction as they are being transported from up country to Kampala for tests which ends up fundamentally jeopardizing the case when in court as there will be no exhibits to identify and tender in as evidence against the accused counterfeiter.

In addition to the long distances traveled and the costs incurred, the Directorate is also overwhelmed by many cases from law enforcement agencies all requiring analytical reports and these have created a case backlog at the Directorate.

The solution to the above challenges is to open up regional Government Analytical laboratories which are well staffed and well funded. This will help to reduce on the distance traveled and costs incurred by the officers to simply bring exhibits to Kampala.

The issue of case backlog at the Directorate shall also have been solved with the setting up of these new regional centers.

We can have a government Analytical laboratory in Mbale which is fully funded, well staffed and operational unlike the one which was launched a few years back which is non operational, to serve the Eastern region, one in Gulu to serve the Northern and North Eastern region, one in Arua to serve the West Nile region, we can have one in Hoima to serve the western region and another in Mbarara to serve the south western part of the country. 

Davis Ngonde,

LLB (MUK), Dip. LP LDC 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 31 October 2019 09:13
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