9 May 2007

Audit shows Fiji elections rigged - says Chaudhry

7:44 am on 9 May 2007

Fiji's interim finance minister and Labour Party leader says there is evidence that the May 2006 general election which returned the SDL to power was rigged.

Mahendra Chaudhry made the allegations after a special audit revealed that more than 650,000 unused ballot papers are missing.

The Fiji Times quotes Mr Chaudhry as saying this was proof that there was a direct attempt to "interfere with and manipulate the results of the 2006 general election."

He says the audit found that the Elections Office failed to keep a proper record of ballot papers issued to polling stations and failed to ensure that proper returns of papers were filed.

The audit also found that nearly 2-million ballot papers were printed when only 842,000 votes were cast.

Mr Chaudhry says the findings have raised serious questions about the credibility and integrity of last year's general elections.

He says he has handed the findings to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption for a proper investigation into what was criminal dereliction of duty by the supervisor of elections.