DSI 'wraps up' GT200 probes
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) says it has already wrapped up investigations into a total of 16 cases involving state agencies' procurement of bogus GT200 bomb detectors and the court has ruled in three cases.
In a press statement issued in the wake of a recent ruling against an executive of AVIA Satcom Co Ltd, a distributor of the bomb detectors, the DSI said the outstanding probes have been forwarded to the agencies concerned.
According to the department, the distributors of the devices lured several government agencies into buying the bomb detectors and the department found evidence of fraud and deception in these cases.
The damaged parties are the Central Institute of Forensic Science, 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 provinces -- Phitsanulok, Phetchaburi, Phuket Yala, Sukhothai.
This week, the court reached verdicts in three cases.
In the first case involving the Royal Thai Navy Security Centre, the court dismissed the case and an appeal was filed.
In the second case, the Royal Thai Army Ordnance Department was the damaged party. The court sentenced the defendant to 36 years for 12 counts of fraud and a fine of 72,000 baht, but the defendant will only serve 10 years because the Penal Code limits the penalty for multiple counts of the same offence to 10 years.
In the third case, the Royal Thai Aide-De-Camp Department was the damaged party.
The Don Muang district court handed down a nine-year jail term to Sutthiwat Wattanakij who was found guilty of fraud over three procurement contracts worth 9 million baht his company, AVA Satcom Co Ltd, signed with the department.
AVIA Satcom claimed it simply imported the devices to the specifications provided by the agencies.
The company said it could not have brought the bomb detectors without orders from official buyers because the devices were classified as armaments, the imports, sales and storage of which are prohibited by law.
As such, the buying agencies took delivery of the devices as soon as they reached Thailand because the company could not store the devices, much less test their efficiency, it argued.
Suspicions about the devices arose when the National Science and Technology Development Agency conducted tests on the devices and found they did not contain any electronic components.