IT IS difficult for the nation’s anti-graft agency to conclude whether there was any wrongdoing in the Bt1.13-billion purchase of fake “remote substance detectors”, a member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) said yesterday.
Surasak Keereevichien said it was likely that officials had decided to purchase the devices because they believed the devices would work.
“Sometimes, it is not about the value of devices. It’s more about belief, just like when you buy Buddha amulets,” Surasak said. “Officials who used this device found it worth the price. But some people see the price as too high.”
The commissioner said his agency would come up with a clear-cut conclusion on the matter “at an appropriate time”.
“The NACC will not allow the statute of limitations to expire,” he said.
The NACC is investigating the purchase of GT200 and Alpha 6 hand-held devices from a UK-based manufacturer, who claimed these devices could detect explosives and drugs etc from a distance.
When asked if a recent court verdict against certain Phitsanulok state officials could serve as a precedent for similar cases, Surasak said the officials were found guilty of purchasing items without authority, not because the devices were unusable.
Between 2005 and 2010, 15 state agencies bought 1,398 GT200 and Alpha 6 devices for a combined Bt1.13 billion. After the devices failed scientific tests, the UK government in January 2010 banned their export and warned foreign governments that they were “wholly ineffective”.
In February 2010, the government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva ordered scientific tests of the GT200 to verify its claimed effectiveness. The tests found that the GT200’s detection rate was no more effective than random chance.