Royal Thai Army spokesperson, Santipong Thammapiya, yesterday announced that the investigation into GT200 bomb detectors has officially ended.
Santipong says the NSTD had completed its examination of 320 devices, and the budget spent investigating it, and concluded that the Royal Thai Army would have to return around 3 million baht from the 7.5 million baht budget allocated to the investigation.
Santipong said the department was now waiting for an official document on the cancellation from the Office of Attorney General.
He insisted that the Royal Thai Army would spend the budget from the tax paid by Thai residents more carefully and effectively in the future.
The Thai government was slammed by opposition party Move Forward for wasting almost 7.6 million baht of its budget on investigating GT200 bomb detectors only good enough to be used as a “cat poop scoop.”
The GT200 was produced by UK-based Global Technical Ltd, who claimed the device could detect, from a distance, various substances including explosives and drugs. It was distributed to a number of different countries in 2001 under the name of GT200, ALPHA46, ADE+651, and AL-6D. The first organization that imported and used the GT200 device was the Royal Thai Airforce.
The UK Government banned the export of the devices in January 2010 and warned foreign governments that the GT200 and ADE 651 are “wholly ineffective” at detecting bombs and explosives. The owner of Global Technical, Gary Bolton, was convicted on 26 July 2013 on two charges of fraud relating to the sale and manufacture of the GT200 and sentenced to seven years in prison
The device was first used at Bor Thong Airport in Yala. Officials were impressed by the result so more devices were imported into other departments. But the device’s efficiency was questioned after it failed to detect car bombs in Narathiwas, in the South of Thailand. The device was tested and it was discovered that it could only detect 4 bombs from 20. This result led to a further investigation and prosecution of the distributing companies and relevant Thai officials. From 2001 to 2010, Thailand imported 1,398 GT200 and ALPHA46 devices, costing 1.2 billion baht.
Move Forward Party MP, Jirat Thongsuwan, criticised the Ministry of Defense, led by the PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, during Thursday’s budget debate, stating the government wasted 7.5 million baht to investigate a useless black plastic box at the end of March.
Jirat says that the government hired officers from the National Science and Technology Development Agency to investigate the 757 GT200 devices costing 10,000 baht each. He added that the cost did not appear on the official budget document and asked the PM to explain why.
“We all know that the device was just an empty plastic box with 2 plastic antennae that couldn’t detect any bombs. When anyone asked about the contract signing with NSTDA, the Royal Thai Army would say it is a secret.”
On Saturday, the NSTDA launched an official document to explain the issue saying the investigation of GT200 was processed according to the international standards, and is ready to present the report to the court.
Jetsada Denduangboriphan, Professor at the Faculty of Science of Chulalongkorn University, who led the GT200 investigation team in 2010, says the investigation ended in 2010.
“NSTDA concluded that no electric charges or radiation was released from the device. This information made the government win the device distributor in the court and put more than 100 relevant officials under investigation.”
Jetsada added that foreign companies would never investigate empty plastic boxes like this. He says they would sue the distributor as soon as they discovered the device was empty. The professor even made fun of the device, saying it is only good enough to be used as a cat litter poop scoop.
SOURCE: Dailynews | Thairath | Bangkokbiznews
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