Senator rebuts NACC lawsuit

Senator rebuts NACC lawsuit

Porntip says charge an ‘act of revenge’

Senator Porntip Rojanasunan
Senator Porntip Rojanasunan

Senator Porntip Rojanasunan on Friday insisted she had done nothing to warrant being named among the accused in a procurement case involving fake bomb detectors brought about 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 the lawsuit, which she claims was engineered by someone out for revenge over her role in the proposal of a bill on forensic science in 2015.

According to Khunying Porntip, the person pulling the strings behind her prosecution had been her main opponent as she sought to see the new forensics bill inked into law.

Despite refusing to name the culprit, she did say they were the only currently serving member of the NACC who was also with the commission eight years ago.

“I’m afraid I won’t survive this lawsuit even though I did nothing against the law because I never had a chance to defend myself against the allegations while the NACC was investigating it,” she said.

She also pointed to some irregularities in the NACC’s handling of this 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 Nov 2020 to investigate the case.

“From 2020 until 2021, I was not 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 only subsequently found out that she stood accused of inflating the procurement price of the GT200 and Alpha 6 bomb detectors paid by the CIFS, said Khunying Porntip.

That left her without enough time to prepare documentation pertaining to the case that could prove her innocence to the NACC’s investigation committee and negate court action, she said.

The CIFS doesn’t have its own administration office and has to rely on the Ministry of Justice, 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 refuting the evidence used by the NACC as it insisted on filing the suit against her.

The decision was reached after a joint committee consisting of NACC and Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) officials 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 has therefore exercised its right to unilaterally file criminal lawsuits against all these people.