NACC points finger in drug detector case

NACC points finger in drug detector case

A soldier in Iraq, also a purchaser of the fake devices, holds an Alpha 6. Con men who sold the useless 'Alpha 6 molecular detector' devices at huge prices claimed they could detect explosives and narcotics, but the Thai officials and generals who fell for the fraud have not been named by the National Anti-Corruption Commission. (AP photo)
A soldier in Iraq, also a purchaser of the fake devices, holds an Alpha 6. Con men who sold the useless 'Alpha 6 molecular detector' devices at huge prices claimed they could detect explosives and narcotics, but the Thai officials and generals who fell for the fraud have not been named by the National Anti-Corruption Commission. (AP photo)

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has named and charged three officials implicated in the illegal purchase of Alpha 6 narcotics detectors 10 years ago.

The three are Surasak Wongsarote, who was assigned by the Phitsanulok governor in 2008 to oversee the purchase, Wirakit Intharaprasit, who headed the purchase committee, and Songsak Phumphon, a member of the procurement committee. All were officials of the Phitsanulok provincial governor's office.

The anti-graft agency decided to file charges Monday, including criminal ones, against Mr Surasak and the other two officials, NACC secretary-general Worawit Sookboon said.

The NACC probe revealed the purchase was plagued with irregularities ranging from an inflated price quote and procurement going ahead without authorisation, he said.

According to the NACC investigation, Mr Surasak went ahead with the purchase right after receiving a price quotation. Failure to make careful checks and negotiate the 1.6-million-baht price with the seller raised suspicions, Mr Worawit said.

Another oddity was that the firm concerned was known for selling medical equipment, not drug detectors.

Mr Surasak however signed a purchase deal with the company despite not having the authority to do so, Mr Worawit said. The governor has the final say.

The irregularities continued even after the Alpha 6 detectors were bought.

According to the NACC secretary-general, Mr Surasak failed to follow regulations requiring a three-member procurement committee to formally receive and test the equipment.

Mr Surasak did it himself and later told a panel member, identified as Kwanchai Khamchum, to sign the procurement document despite him not being part of the process.

The NACC did not name Mr Kwanchai as an accomplice but was treating him as a witness, according to Mr Worawit.

Mr Wirakit, as head of the purchase panel and Mr Songsak, as part of the procurement body were negligent because they failed to ensure the regulations were enforced, the NACC chief said.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (33)

US sanctions cryptocurrency exchange over ties to ransomware attacks

WASHINGTON - The United States imposed sanctions Tuesday on cryptocurrency exchange SUEX for its ties to ransomware attackers, as Washington seeks to crack down on digital crime.

22:45

Serious probe into ‘Boss’ hit-and-run mishandling

The Public Prosecutor Commission on Tuesday formed a committee to conduct a serious disciplinary investigation into a former deputy attorney-general who dropped a reckless driving charge against Red Bull scion Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya.

21:55

Bank of Thailand says increased public debt ceiling to help economy

Thailand's increased public debt ceiling will give flexibility in policy implementation to cope with the coronavirus and support the economy as fiscal measures are still necessary, the central bank said on Tuesday.

20:10