8 years in prison for ex-Yala governor over GT-200 bomb detector deal

Image Courtesy: Isra News

Former governor of Yala province, Thira Minthrasak, has been sentenced to 8 years in prison without suspension, after being found guilty of malfeasance by the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases in connection with the purchase of fake bomb detectors, known as GT-200, more than a decade ago.

11 other officials who were involved in the deal, most of them retired, have also received sentences ranging from four years to eight months.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission found sufficient evidence to substantiate malfeasance charges against the 12 officials after the signing of two contracts to purchase the British-made GT-200 bomb detectors.

Thira is the first high-ranking official to be convicted in the fake bomb detector scandal, despite the fact that at least ten state agencies also bought the GT-200 or Alpha-6 brand devices, with the biggest procurer being the Royal Thai Army,which purchased 757 in 12 contracts worth a combined682.60 million baht.

Other buyers include the Royal Thai Navy, the Royal Thai Air Force, the Royal Thai Police, the Customs Department and the Central Institute of Forensic Science.

About 100 people at different state agencies have been implicated by the NACC in 20 cases in the scandal. Five other cases are being reinvestigated.

Each bomb detector costs an average of about half a million baht, with some costing almost a million baht. The devices do not, however, contain any suitable mechanism or technology and are merely plastic boxes with a magnetic card and an antenna.


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