Man jailed for selling fake detectors to Kenya police

British businessman James McCormick (R) arrives at the Old Bailey court in central London on May 2, 2013, to be sentenced after being convicted of selling fake bomb detectors to Iraq and other countries. JUSTIN TALLIS | AFP 

A fraudster who sold fake bomb detectors to the Kenyan police has been jailed for 10 years by a London court.

According to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Jim McCormick, 57, sold more than £55 million (Sh7 billion) worth of fake bomb detectors to among others, Kenya, Egypt and Iraq.

The UK police say that 26 fake bomb detectors were sold to Kenya in May 2004.

He was selling each for £10,000 (Sh1.3 million) yet they were nothing more than £15 golf ball finders.

But Nairobi police chief Benson Githinji told reporters that “the machines in use are serviceable and don’t fall short... They are in operation and they work.”

He said that one of the reasons why there had not been a successful grenade attack in Nairobi recently was because of the machines. But the BBC reported that the Kenyan police “refused to divulge where they had purchased their devices.”

At the Old Bailey (court) in London on Thursday, Mr Justice Hone handed the maximum sentence for a crime he described as “a callous confidence trick.”'

McCormick, a former policeman and salesman, told the court he sold his detectors to police in Kenya, the prison service in Hong Kong, the army in Egypt and border control in Thailand.

However, during this week’s Old Bailey hearing, the court was told McCormick’s detectors, which cost up to $40,000 each, were completely ineffectual and lacked any grounding in science.

Quality Control personnel Richard Whittam, for the prosecution, said: “The devices did not work and he knew they did not work.”

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