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k98nights

Iraqi Interior Ministry returns $20m to 2010 budget over explosive detector controversy

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k98nights    5,762

Iraqi Interior Ministry returns $20m to 2010 budget over explosive detector controversy

Wednesday, February 2nd 2011 7:49 PM

Baghdad, Feb. 2 (AKnews) - The Inspector General’s office at the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday that it has returned 24bn Iraqi Dinars ($20m) to the state treasury after resolving mass corruption cases, including the issue of the ADE 651 explosive detectors. cms-image-000032826.jpg

The Iraqi Interior Ministry had previously announced earlier that a number of senior officers in the Interior Ministry were referred to the Iraqi justice on charges of buying the non-effective explosive detecting devices without revealing the identity of the officers involved.

The Inspector General at the ministry Aqil al- Turaihi told AKnews that his office had worked hard to return the funds lost through administrative and financial corruption.

"The staff of the Inspector General is working vigorously with all the illegal issues that lack integrity and non-observance of the controls that limit the spread of corruption," he said.

The Public Integrity committee revealed earlier that the Interior Minister in the previous government Jawad al-Bolani, prevented the Public Integrity committee in accordance with his powers to prosecute six senior officers from his ministry after being convicted of corruption for importing non-effecient explosives detectors.

The ADE 651 explosive detector was widely used by the Iraqi Police Service and the Iraqi Army. The Iraqi Interior Ministry bought 800 of the devices in 2008 for $32m and a further 700 in 2009 for $53m, in no-bid contracts with the UK-based manufacturer ATSC.

According to ATSC’s promotional material, the device is said to work on the principle of "electrostatic magnetic ion attraction". The ADE 651 consists of a swiveling antenna mounted via a hinge to a plastic handgrip. It requires no battery or other power source, its manufacturer stating that it is powered solely by the user's static electricity. To use the device, the operator must walk for a few moments to "charge" it before holding it at right angles to the body.

The Iraqi government paid up to $60,000 for the devices despite the purchase price being put at around $18,500. The Iraqi Army's Baghdad Operations Command announced in November 2009 that it had purchased another hundred of the devices.

Jim McCormick, Managing Director of ATSC has said that the devices were sold for $8,000 each, with the balance of the cost going on training and middlemen. According to CBS News at the time, the training included instructions to Iraqi users to "shuffle their feet to generate static electricity to make the things work."

According to an associate of ATSC, the devices were manufactured at a cost of $250 each by suppliers in Britain and Romania. The associate told The New York Times: "Everyone at ATSC knew there was nothing inside the ADE 651."

The use of the ADE 651 has prompted strong criticism and eventually led to a ban on the device's export from the UK to Iraq and Afghanistan and a criminal investigation of its manufacturer.

The Iraqi security forces' reliance on the device was highlighted by a New York Times investigation in November 2009, which reported that United States military and technical experts believed the device was useless.

The U.S. military revealed last year in a report that most of the explosives detectors imported by the Iraqi government were not valid for use and the contracts included financial corruption.

The Iraqi government subsequently formed an investigation committee to investigate the reality of what was published in the media, and the committee concluded that some of the equipment used for detecting explosives used at security checkpoints does not work and decided to return the ineffective devices immediately.

Reported by Saman Dazzayi

Rn/Ka/AKnews

http://www.aknews.com/en/aknews/2/215327/

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