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Couple 'forced' to vote

Avinesh Gopal
Thursday, September 04, 2014

AN elderly couple was allegedly misled yesterday by a courier company employee into voting for someone whom they did not want to vote for.

It was the first incident of alleged irregularities reported as pre-polling began in the country yesterday in the countdown to September 17.

Jai Ram and his wife Satya Wati, both 80 years old of Horton St in Suva, said their daughter-in-law had applied for postal ballot on their behalf.

"A Fijian of Indian descent employee of the courier company came home this morning (yesterday) with the postal ballot papers and opened the envelopes," said Ms Wati.

"He asked me who I will vote for. I told him that I'll vote for the person who can bring peace to the country.

"He said only one person can bring peace and he gave me that candidate's name.

"That man then ticked that candidate's number and told me it was OK.

"He then took the ballot paper away. I didn't want to vote for that person.

"I had wanted to discuss with my family members in the evening and then vote for the person that I was thinking of voting for," she said.

Mr Ram said the courier company employee showed him a candidate's number and told him to tick on it, saying he was the best candidate.

"I circled the number and I realised later that it was not the person I had wanted to vote for. I wanted to vote for the Fiji Labour Party.

"The man should have left the ballot papers behind but he took them.

"He insisted that he had to take them away," said Mr Ram.

Chief Operations Officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu confirmed receiving a report on the matter.

"We will have to get the other side of the story too from the courier company employee and an investigation will confirm what happened," he said.

ACP Tudravu said the matter would be referred by the police to Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption for investigations, saying it was the first such case reported yesterday.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said his office was aware of the matter and FICAC was looking into it now.





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