Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Iraqi Council of Representatives yesterday announced the formation of a committee to investigate the facts behind the purchase of a Bomb Detection Device [ADE-651] from a British company. This device later proved to be ineffective in detecting explosive materials. The investigation will focus on whether there was any corruption in the conclusion of this deal, and whether any governmental parties were complicit in this, or whether there are technical reasons behind the failure of this device.
The British authorities have lifted the veil on this scandal surrounding the ineffective bomb detection device, and the British police force announced the arrest of the businessman who was selling the Iraqi army these devices. The Avon and Somerset police force announced that they had arrested Jim McCormick, age 53, the managing director of the British ATSC company, on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation. McCormick was released on bail pending further investigations.
Iraqi MP Ammar Taama, a member of the parliamentary Security and Defense Committee told Asharq Al-Awsat that Parliamentary Speaker, Iyad al-Samarrai, had called for the formation of an exploratory committee to investigate this, and identified the tasks that this committee should undertake.
Taama said that “the tasks of the committee are limited to two tracks, [and that is] reaching the truth over what happened with regards to the signing of the contracts for these bomb detection devices; firstly by following up on the details of the contract and looking at the background of this, as well as the possibility of collusion by those who signed this contract, or whether this [infectivity] is the result of technical weaknesses in these devices. Either of these [options] deserves accountability.”
Taama also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Security and Defense Committee will urge the Iraqi government on the necessity of suing this British company that has caused losses that have not just been material, but losses that have cost Iraqi blood as a result of the failure of these devices.”
Taama also indicated that during the emergency parliamentary sessions held against the backdrop of the series of explosions that rocked Baghdad last year, Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qader al-Obeidi, said that “the detection of car bombs and explosive material using these devices is very limited, and this increases the likelihood that these devices have low efficiency.”
According to ATSC company data, the [ADE-651] manual bomb detection device works without batteries, deriving its power from static electricity. Each unit costs 40 thousand dollars. The device consists of a rotating aerial attached to a gun shaped hand grip, ATSC claim that the aerial can detect minute quantities of explosives at distances up to 1 km.
Agence France-Presse quoted Iraqi MP Hadi al-Ameri, a member of the parliamentary Security and Defense committee as saying “We will start to gather evidence to find out how this piece of equipment was sold to Iraq. If the (British) company was responsible, we will seek compensation via the ministry of foreign affairs.”
Despite this, a senior Iraqi security official, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said that the devices were 100 percent effective, and that he had experienced this himself.