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Is Chaudhry the most CLUELESS Idiot of the lot?

Ever since his second loss in as many general elections, the Labour Party Dictator in Mahendra Chaudhry seems to have become extremely bitter. This man has shown how clueless he has been in not being able to accept the reality of his loss.

Now his illegal cronies have gone on to investigate the elections office. They come up with some of saddest results of the investigation in a desperate hope to the prove that the last election was unfair. What a laugh really. All the independent observers during the election saw nothing seriously wrong with things, but this sore loser just couldn't just accept it. If that isn't crybaby like behaviour, then what!

Anyway here is the Fiji Times report on the finding of his investigation:

Elections 'rigged'

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

More than 650,000 unused ballot papers printed for the last general elections are missing, according to an audit by the Finance Ministry.

In a press statement yesterday, interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry said this was proof that there was a direct attempt to "interfere with and manipulate the results of the 2006 general elections".

He said the report found that the Elections Office failed to keep a diligent record of ballot papers issued to polling stations or to ensure that proper returns were filed by every returning officer at the end of the polls.

The audit report also revealed that close to 1,985,640 ballot papers were printed against a total of 842,594 votes cast, more than double the requirement.

"These are very serious breaches of the Electoral Act and the Public Service regulations," Mr Chaudhry said.

"They are tantamount to gross dereliction of duty, if not direct attempts to interfere with and manipulate the results of the 2006 general elections."

The mere fact that a total of 665,256 unused ballot papers were unaccounted for, is in itself sufficient to raise serious questions about the credibility and integrity of the 2006 general elections, he said.

Mr Chaudhry said the report found the Supervisor of Elections Office guilty of gross extravagance, wastage, failure to keep within budgetary allocations, failure to return equipment and failure to submit proper reports on funds spent as required under the Public Service Commission's accountability procedures.

He said he had handed the findings of the audit to the anti-corruption unit.

"I have handed the findings of the special audit report to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption for a proper investigation to be instituted into the conduct of the 2006 general election and criminal dereliction of duty by the Supervisor of Elections," he said.

Furthermore, Mr Chaudhry said a detailed audit of ballot papers was impossible because the Elections Office:

q Did not keep a record of ballot papers issued to each polling station;

q Failed to maintain a master record of ballot papers against which reconciliation could be carried out of used/unused ballot papers;

q Did not carry out a reconciliation of used and unused or spoilt ballot papers after the elections as required under the Electoral Act;

q Burnt a large quantity of allegedly spoilt and unused ballot papers, which was in direct breach of the Electoral Act. The explanations for this gross misconduct was "administrative error";

q The Supervisor of Elections is required by law to Gazette the results of the general elections based on reports submitted by Returning Officers.

Mr Chaudhry said the audit found the report as gazetted by the Elections Supervisor contradicted reports submitted by Returning Officers and that not all Returning Officers submitted reports after polling to the Elections Office as required under the Electoral Act.

Former Elections Supervisor Semesa Karavaki last night said all the records were intact when he left the post.

"They have an agenda. There is no credible information on hand, the records were all there when I left," he said.

"Unfortunately I am not there to answer those queries.

"I don't know who they spoke to because no papers were missing."

"They did an audit when Chaudhry came into the Ministry of Finance and they found nothing missing."

He said after the elections he had directed an audit be carried out.

"It was about to be completed in December when the coup happened," he said,

"The Ministry of Finance took these results but they didn't use it.

"I think this was done to further someone or some people's agenda or their perverted ways."

He said given the opportunity, he could have easily discredited the audit's report.

"If there is any credible information they should take it to where it's supposed to go to court," said Mr Karavaki.

"The elections process was supervised by the whole world and it was endorsed that it was free and fair.

"All these things they are saying are a waste of taxpayers' money.

"Nowhere in the world do you print the exact number of ballot papers to match the number of registered voters. You have to equip each polling station

"What happens if there are 50 ballot papers in a book and only five people turn up to vote that particular day these are things that need to be taken into consideration," he said.

According to Mr Chaudhry, the Act requires presiding officers at the end of polling each day to prepare a statement (inventory) for each constituency detailing:

The total number of ballot papers entrusted to him;

Total used unused ballot papers;

Total spoiled ballot papers; and

Totals tendered ballot papers.

"If these specific instructions were followed, why are 665,256 unused ballot papers missing?" he asked.

And here is the Fiji Times editorial which tried to bring some sense into him:

Valid figures, not hot air, please

Thursday, May 10, 2007

INTERIM Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry has done his best to shock the nation with claims of massive electoral fraud and mismanagement.

There were, he said, more than 650,000 unused ballot papers missing after the May 2006 general election, which meant there had been a direct attempt to "interfere with and manipulate the results ...".

That a large number of ballot papers were printed and never used proves absolutely nothing, and is in no way relevant to the outcome of the election.

At worst it may show up some wastage of money and a lack of some proper procedures within the Electoral Office.

It is totally irrelevant how many ballot papers were printed and how many were unused or even if they were destroyed or not. Once the election was over they were nothing more than waste paper.

What is important is how many votes were cast in each seat compared to the number of people on the electoral roll and those essential facts seem to be missing from this so-called'audit'.

An election is nothing more than simple mathematics. There are a certain number of people entitled to vote in each seat. Over the course of polling a number of them will vote and a number of them will not, for various reasons. At the end of polling the votes are counted and obviously the number of votes cast should never exceed the number of people enrolled.

The number of votes cast should also match the number of names crossed off the electoral rolls by the polling booth staff.

In every election far more ballot papers are printed than there are registered voters for the simple reason that, as people are allowed to vote at any of a number of polling stations, each has to have sufficient papers to cater for however many people may turn up.

For instance, how many Rotumans could be expected to vote in Suva and at which polling booths? It is almost impossible to know.

Complicating this even further is the lack of a recent census. Using the Rotuman example again, how could the Elections Office possibly know how many Rotumans lived in Suva and at which polling stations they would vote? Because those facts were not, and could never be fully known beforehand, the Elections Office had to ensure there were enough ballot papers available at every polling station on a "be prepared" basis.

It is difficult to believe a seasoned politician such as Mr Chaudhry does not know all this.

Let us also not forget that the election was overseen by a number of independent teams, including the European Union, the Commonwealth, the US and even a local contingent from the University of the South Pacific.

They all gave the thumbs up, acknowledging that while the election was not perfect, the mistakes had no bearing on the outcome.

Were these teams incompetent or corrupt? It is difficult impossible, in fact to believe so.

Mr Chaudhry now needs to provide proof that his audit team knew what they were doing. He needs to provide the real figures that are needed the number of electors registered in each seat, compared to the number of votes cast.

If they show significant differences, he may then have some hope of convincing the public the election was rigged.

Until then, it is all just more political hot air.

And here is this thick headed moron's response:

Ballot papers

YOUR editorial (FT 10/5) on the missing unused ballot papers shows an unfortunate lack of understanding of issues involved, particularly the enormity of the fact that more than 600,000 unused ballot papers cannot be accounted for.

Equally surprising is the fact that an issue which your paper thought was important enough to hit the front page (FT 9/5) should hours later become merely "hot air".

It says a lot about the credibility of your editorial team, than that of the Finance Ministry's audit team.

The issue at stake here is not just one of about 600,000 unused ballot papers, although that is worrying enough. The main concern is 665,256 missing unused ballot papers.

The Electoral Act makes absolutely stringent provisions for the accountability of every printed ballot paper, issued or otherwise.

And rightly so, because the integrity of any general election hinges on such accountability.

Sections 85, 86 and 87 lay down very specific instructions for the handling of and responsibility for all ballot papers used, unused or spoilt.

The ultimate responsibility for the safety and accountability of ballot papers lie with the Supervisor of Elections. He stands accountable under the law.

He must tell the nation what happened to the 600,000-plus ballot papers.

That they were used to stuff ballot boxes cannot be easily discounted.

This is why the matter is with the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption for further investigation.

The Finance audit team found discrepancies which must be thoroughly investigated.

The fact that the Supervisor of Elections failed in his duty to keep a master record, failed in his duty to ensure every Returning Officer filed returns as required under the law, made it impossible for the audit team to probe further. FICAC will now look into these and other issues that have come to light. Let the Supervisor of Elections and others of his ilk answer to the investigating team.

There are a number of other highly disturbing features of the 2006 and 2001 general elections that need to be fully investigated.

Indeed, there is enough compelling evidence to warrant the setting up of an independent commission of inquiry into the conduct of the 2006 election.

In the past, such complaints were brushed under the carpet. Complaints regarding irregularities and electoral malpractices were lodged after the 2001 election but no action was taken by those in authority people who were part of Laisenia Qarase's gravy train.

When police started their investigations under Commissioner Andrew Hughes, it was found that relevant records could not be found. We must prevent records being destroyed this time.

The accountability and integrity of the electoral system is a must, otherwise the exercise becomes a mockery and a farce.

Needless to say, an alert, impartial and informed media, in its capacity as the public watchdog, has an important role to play in this respect.

Mahendra Chaudhry
Interim Minister for Finance
National Planning

You be the judge.

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