August 21, 2018

How the lie detector ordered by Uhuru works

A mandatory polygraph test for all Government heads of procurement and accounts in various ministries was ordered by President Uhuru on Friday.

A polygraph test is commonly referred to as a lie detector test which functions to detect any bodily responses that may indicate a person is lying or telling the truth.

The polygraph machine detects changes in pulse rate, respiration rate, blood pressure and skin conductivity on an individual to tell whether the person is being truthful.

Speaking during the 55th Madaraka Day celebrations at Kinoru Stadium in Meru County, President Uhuru said the test would be the first step to tackle graft in the country.

He also asked leaders and Kenyans to join hands in fighting the vice.

“We must, with a sense of great urgency, destroy and eliminate corruption in our country before it fully destroys us and the future of our children,” said Uhuru.

“All Heads of Procurement and Accounts in Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Parastatals will undergo fresh vetting, including polygraph testing, to determine their integrity and suitability. Those who shall fail the vetting will stand suspended. I expect this exercise be concluded before the start of the new financial year (FY 2018/2019). You will hear of other tougher actions in the days to come,” he warned.

The tool (polygraph) is conventionally used by law enforcement officers as an interrogation tool for suspects in a criminal case to aid in investigations.

The biggest users of the tool are law enforcers in the United States of America (USA) with a great use of the implement for examining sex offenders.

Critics of the polygraph call lie detection a voodoo science, saying that polygraphs are no more accurate at detecting lies than the flip of a coin.

“Despite claims of ‘lie detector’ examiners, there is no machine that can detect lies,” reads a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

“The ‘lie detector’ does not measure truth-telling; it measures changes in blood pressure, breath rate and perspiration rate, but those physiological changes can be triggered by a wide range of emotions.”

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