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Thai army spends 7 million baht on useless bomb scanners

The opposition Move Forward party is demanding an explanation from the army over its spending of more than seven million baht to hire the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) to test 700 GT200 bomb scanners, purchased by the army over a decade ago, to determine whether they work.

Party list MP Rangsiman Rome said today (Saturday) that he does not understand why the army has to test the fake scanners, which have already been proved completely useless.

“Anyone can test the scanner with just a screwdriver, without the need to pay 10,000 baht a piece” said Rangsiman.

Move Forward MP for Chachoengsao province JiratThongsuwan said that, about 14 years ago, several state agencies purchased several hundred GT200 bomb scanners, including 757 for the army alone, and they have all been discarded as useless.

He wonders whether the 7.5 million baht spending of taxpayers’ money was actually in an attempt to clear a few generals responsible for the procurement of the devices of any wrongdoing.

Assistant Professor Jessada Denduangboripant, of the Faculty of Science at Chulalongkorn University who tested the GT200 bomb scanners about 14 years ago, said in his Facebook post on Friday that the devices are just two pieces of plastic glued together with an antenna attached and no internal mechanism or battery.

He claimed that he was involved in previous tests, conducted by the Electrical and Electronic Products Testing Centre of NSTDA, in which the scanners failed to locate a test explosive device.

Jessada also said that that there was no point in new tests on devices which should have been dumped or destroyed.

Defence Ministry spokesman, Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, claimed yesterday that the new tests were recommended by the Office of the Attorney-General, becauseit needs solid evidence to be presented to the court to prove that the devices are useless in its case against the company and its executives for the sale of the devices to the army.

The army bought 757 GT200 bomb scanners at a total cost of 683 million baht.

In its Facebook post last night, NSTDA claimed that it had meticulously tested the bomb scanners, in accordance with international standards, and that the amount it charged is much lower than that which would be charged by a foreign lab.

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