10 May 2006

Two Fiji political parties lay complaints about handling of ballot boxes

9:48 am on 10 May 2006

A report from Fiji says ballot boxes used for the general election have been transported without police supervision in direct breach of the law.

The Fiji Sun reports that some ballot boxes were missing for 40 minutes which could not be accounted for.

Two political parties have lodged complaints over what they describe as suspicious behaviour by election officials.

The campaign director of the National Alliance Party, Josaia Gucake, says ballot boxes being transported from the Wailoku polling station for storage at the Suva Grammar School were kept at the Elections Office in Flagstaff.

In that time, damaged ballot boxes were repaired and resealed without any party agents being allowed to witness it.

The supervisor of elections, Semesa Karavaki, says ballot boxes should be transported from the polling centres to the counting centres in the presence of police and party agents.

Mr Karavaki says in cases where they have to be resealed, it should be done in the presence of police and party agents.