Former Yala governor sentenced to 8 years for malfeasance in GT200 bomb detector case

Photo Courtesy of Bangkok Post

Former Yala governor, Teera Mintrasak, aged 59, has been sentenced to eight years in prison for malfeasance in connection with the purchase of fraudulent GT200 bomb detectors from 2007-2009. The sentence was delivered by the Region 9 Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases.

Teera was among 12 defendants involved in the case, with the other 11, all of whom were former officials in the province, receiving prison sentences ranging from nine months to four years and nine months.

Deputy spokesman of the Office of the Attorney General, Kosolwat Intuchanyong, stated that the judgement in the 12 cases was announced on Tuesday. The cases were initially filed with the court in 2021, and the 12 defendants were charged with malfeasance under Section 157 of the Criminal Code concerning the procurement of GT200 bomb detectors through two contracts.

The court found them guilty as charged and handed an eight-year sentence to Teera, the first defendant, and varying sentences to the other 11 defendants, ranging from nine months to four years and nine months. Furthermore, the court ordered the payment of compensation for the damages incurred.

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However, the case isn’t settled yet, as each defendant can still appeal the ruling, according to Kosolwat.

Cases involving the procurement of GT200 bomb detectors by state agencies from 2007-2009 are numerous, with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) concluding investigations into 16 cases and forwarding reports and recommendations to prosecutors in September 2018, reports Bangkok Post.

According to the DSI, bomb detector distributors convinced several government agencies to purchase the devices, and evidence of fraud and deception emerged from the cases.

Affected parties included the Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS), Royal Thai Army Ordnance Department, Customs Department, Provincial Administration Department, Royal Thai Aide-De-Camp Department, Provincial Police of Sing Buri and Chai Nat, Songkhla Provincial Administration, Royal Thai Navy Security Centre, and five provincial administrations – Phitsanulok, Phetchaburi, Phuket, Yala, and Sukhothai.

Court rulings have already been made on some of these cases.

On 10 March this year, the National Anti-Corruption Commission passed a resolution to file a lawsuit against former top forensic official Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan and other CFIS officials in connection with the counterfeit bomb detector procurements.

Khunying Porntip served as CIFS director during the procurement of GT200 bomb detectors from 2007-2009.

Suspicions about the devices surfaced when the National Science and Technology Development Agency tested them and discovered that they did not contain any electronic components, prompting investigations into the purchases of GT200s by state agencies. The issue subsequently escalated into a major national scandal.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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