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Police called in to investigate possible fraudulent Whim/Bloomfield NDC voters list

first_imgThe Police have been called in to investigate possible electoral fraud at the Whim/Bloomfield Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC). The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) had challenged the validity of the Alliance For Change (AFC) backers list for the upcoming Local Government Elections.The matter came up before Justice Navindra Singh on Thursday in the Berbice High Court. The writ was filed by Shafraz Beekham against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), who is claiming that his name and those of 50 others were fraudulently affixed to the AFC list of backers.The writ named Returning Officer Orlando Christopher Persaud and Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield as the respondents. Beekham is being represented by Attorneys Anil Nandlall and Adrian Anamayah while GECOM isAttorney Anil Nandlallbeing represented by Attorneys Teni Housty and Excellence Dazzell.At the end of Thursday’s hearing, Housty told the media that he was happy with the proposed measure. He noted that it was done in the interest of justice. Nandlall, meanwhile, explained that based on the investigation, persons might be charged with fraud.“We are saying one thing and they are saying something else. Well we have invited the court to invite the Police to carry out an investigation. So all the persons they will meet with a team of Police Officers, they will make their claims to them and the Police will investigate and we will get a report from the Police next week Wednesday.That report will be passed on to the Judge and we will meet with the Judge next week Friday to determine how we will move forward. I hope that persons get locked up in this matter because this is serious forgery and people’s rights being taken away and people are being forced to support candidates and political parties that they do not support,” Nandlall said.In a sworn affidavit, Beekham, who is a registered elector on the official List of Electors for Constituency Number Three, had said that he and others wereShafraz Beekham“deliberately deceived into signing a document by an AFC representative who he claimed fraudulently represented that she was employed by GECOM and that he needed to sign a document to confirm that his name was on the voter’s list.Beekham’s legal suit stated that on Tuesday, September 25, 2018, he and other electors visited Persaud’s office in Whim to submit the affidavits to have their names withdrawn.During the hearing today, Returning Officer Orlando Christopher Persaud told the court that the names were removed, hence, there was no need for a court hearing, since the issue with Beekham’s name was resolved.“We are now told that his name was taken off of the last which it appeared on on Nomination Day. We have been battling with this issue since Nomination Day which was September 24, up until we had no redress on this matter but to file these proceedings.”During the hearing, GECOM claimed Beekham’s name was taken off of the AFC list on the evening of Nomination Day.However, Nandlall argues that up to Wednesday evening his name was still on the list which was posted at the Whim/Bloomfield NDC office. However on Thursday morning, a line was drawn over Beekham’s name and there was an attachment with new names.Returning Officer Orlando Christopher Persaud claimed that the matter was corrected by him. He also claimed that although he received statutory declarations from the other 50 persons indicating that their names were fraudulently placed on the AFC list, he could do nothing about it as he had already issued letters ofChief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfieldapproval to the AFC.But Nandlall argues that those letters could have been withdrawn. Initially, the matter was raised by the PPP GECOM Commissioners. However, this did not stop Lowenfield from placing all the names, including the backers who claim that their names were fraudulently placed on the AFC list, on the Official Gazette.Beekham is hoping to get the court to remove those names from the AFC list. Nandlall said he is hoping that the court rules in a manner which will also rectify similar issues the party has raised in other parts of Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).Residents of Good Hope/Number 51 NDC are claiming that they did not put their names on forms which were submitted to the GECOM Retuning Officer by the AFC on Nomination Day.Residents of the Maida/Tarlogy NDC have also made similar claims of forgery happening there; likewise some residents of Johanna in Black Bush Polder.The PPP is also contending that there were similar acts at the Plegtanker/Koortbradt NDC on the East Bank of Berbice.Meanwhile, the next hearing is set for October 26 at the High Court in Georgetown. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img read more