Senator says she’s been singled out in GT200 case for pushing bill on forensic science services
Senator Porntip Rojanasunan on Friday insisted she had done nothing to warrant being named among the accused in the fake bomb detector procurement case brought by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).
The former director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS) did, however, admit that she might not survive a lawsuit, which she claims to have been engineered by someone out for revenge over her role in proposing a bill on forensic science in 2015.
According to Khunying Porntip, the person pulling the strings behind her prosecution had been her main opponent when she was seeking to see the new forensics bill become law.
Despite refusing to name the culprit, she did say he or she was the only currently serving member of the NACC who was also with the commission eight years ago.
“I was afraid I wouldn’t survive this lawsuit, although I had done nothing against the law, because I never had a chance to defend myself against the allegation while the NACC was investigating it,” she said.
The CIFS was among 14 Thai government bodies that were duped into procuring the GT200 detectors, which were later revealed to be completely useless. Of the more than 800 units procured by Thai public bodies, 757 were acquired by the Royal Thai Army.
She also pointed to some irregularities in the NACC’s handling of the case against her.
The procurement of counterfeit bomb detectors took place in 2008, but the NACC did not act until February 2021, when it formed a sub-committee to accuse her and a CIFS team after setting up a fact-finding committee in November 2020 to investigate the case.
“From 2020 until 2021, I was not been given the opportunity to respond to any formal questions and defend myself against the allegations or to provide any explanation, which is totally unjust,” she said.
She said she subsequently found out that she stood accused of inflating the procurement price of the GT200 and Alpha 6 bomb detectors paid by the CIFS.
That left her without enough time to prepare documentation pertaining to the case that could prove her innocence to the NACC committee and negate court action, she said.
The CIFS doesn’t have its own administrative office and has to rely on Ministry of Justice personnel, which made it impossible for her to obtain the documentation needed in time, she said.
All she could do back then was answer the charge without a chance to refute the evidence used by the NACC, as it insisted on filing a lawsuit against her.
The decision was reached after a joint committee consisting of officials from the NACC and the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) failed to find common ground on who should be indicted in this case, according to a source.
Initially, the NACC asked the OAG to indict all those allegedly involved; however, the OAG would only resolve to indict lower-level CIFS officials, not Khunying Porntip, said the source.
The NACC therefore exercised its right to unilaterally file criminal lawsuits against all these people, the source added.