10 May 2007

Fiji police investigate alleged election fraud

9:58 am on 10 May 2007

Fiji police have confirmed that they are investigating allegations that last year's general elections were rigged.

The Fijilive news website says the director of the police criminal investigations department, Senior Superintendent Ravi Narayan, has confirmed his officers are investigating allegations of electoral fraud.

But he has declined to give any further details.

The investigation comes after the interim finance minister and Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, claimed they were cheated out of victory in the elections.

Mr Chaudhry has based his claim on the findings of a special audit which show that more than 650-thousand unused ballot papers are missing.

The audit also 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.

Mr Chaudhry says they did not lose the elections but the former supervisor of elections, Semesa Karavaki, colluded with the SDL to cheat them.

But Mr Karavaki has rejected the allegations of collusion and is questioning the agenda of the special audit.

Mr Karavaki says the election process was supervised by the whole world and was endorsed as free and fair.