, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 2 – The man who sold fake bomb detectors to Kenya and other countries has been handed a ten year jail term in London where he was facing charges.
James McCormick was found guilty of duping government agencies and other private organisations that gold ball finder gadgets are capable of detecting bombs and illegal narcotics.
The Daily Telegraph quoted Old Bailey Judge Richard Hone as saying: “I am wholly satisfied that your fraudulent conduct in selling so many useless devices for simply enormous profit promoted a false sense of security and in all probability materially contributed to causing death and injury to innocent individuals.”
The judge said McCormick had shown a “cavalier disregard for the potentially fatal consequences of using the devices.
“The device was useless, the profits outrageous and your culpability as a fraudster has to be placed in the highest category. The jury found you knew the devices didn’t work but the soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere believed they did, in part due to your powers of salesmanship and in part due to the extravagant and fraudulent claims made in your promotional material.”
Kenya police and other agencies in other countries—including Iraq – bought the gadgets for use in detecting bombs, guns and drug-related substances like heroin.
Although the Kenya police last week insisted their gadgets are effective, authorities in London have proved that none of those gadgets can detect explosives apart from randomly finding golf balls.
McCormick was selling a single gadget for over Sh3 million, way up from its actual market price of Sh1600—making him a fortune in sales made over the years.
He is estimated to have made Sh7.811 billion from the sale of the devices.
Kenya Police last Friday demonstrated to journalists that the device called the Advanced Detection Equipment (ADE) could detect drugs but did not conduct a similar test to detect a firearm or an explosive.
The officers used heroin samples to demonstrate efficient use of the devices led by the head of Flying Squad Munga Nyale and Constable Amos Agudo, an expert who uses the ADE’s.
Prosecuting QC Richard Whittam said the justice and foreign affairs ministries in Baghdad were hit by truck bombs – which drove through the checkpoints where the useless devices were operated.
The prosecution said the “inescapable conclusion” was that Iraqis died because of their use.
A defense lawyer for McCormick told the Old Bailey court Thursday that there was no evidence that vehicles carrying bombs passed through checkpoints where his devices were in use.
McCormick was not responsible for any attacks, his lawyer said, and any number of devices could not protect the people of Iraq.
McCormick, who was the sole director of his company, made millions from the sale of the devices and used the proceeds to fund a luxurious lifestyle.
He was convicted last month on three counts of fraud.