By Ronald Musoke
The Police has come out to explain the circumstances under which the private pathologist who was tasked to do further tests on the late MP Cerinah Nebanda’s body to ascertain her exact cause of death was arrested at Entebbe Airport and detained.
Cerinah Nebanda was until her tragic death on Dec. 14 the Woman MP for the eastern Ugandan district of Butaleja.
In a statement released today, Dec. 18, Police explained that, following the tragic death of Hon. Cerinah Nebanda, it had among other routine procedures, requested Mulago Hospital to conduct a Post-Mortem examination on the body of the deceased. Police also allowed the family and some members of Parliament to send representatives, and observe the Post-Mortem examination.
However, because the preliminary results of the Post-Mortem were inconclusive, the team of pathologists referred certain samples to the Government Analytical Laboratories for further tests. The samples were sealed as required and escorted to the Government Analytical Laboratories (GAL) by, among others, the MPs who had witnessed the Post-Mortem.
“At GAL, such samples are, as routine procedure, received formally, their descriptions and quantities determined and documented, and the nature of the requested analysis clearly recorded.
“This procedure is vital, not just for scientific purposes, but also as part of the crucial ‘chain-of-custody’ requirement in criminal investigations, and, ultimately, in criminal prosecution in court,” the statement signed by Judith Nabakooba, the Police Spokesperson reads in part.
The statement continues: “Any samples handled outside this procedure breach the integrity of the forensic examinations, as well as making the final outcome inadmissible in any potential criminal prosecution, and suspicious.”
Police said on Dec. 17, Police discovered that certain samples from the body had been irregularly obtained by individuals not involved in the Police investigation, and without knowledge of the Police. When the Police’s CID confronted the pathologist from Mulago Hospital, Dr. Sylvester Onzivua, he wrote to the Director of CID, informing the CID that he had been hired by Parliament to carry out parallel forensic investigations into the death of the youthful legislator, and had asked for the Director’s advice.