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Claims of vote buying tactics

Serafina Silaitoga And Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

THE Fiji Labour Party says the recent announcement by National Federation Party MP and bus operator Parmod Chand that policemen in uniforms and preschool students could travel free in his company buses as this would help police get to destinations for investigation purposes is a vote buying tactic.

FLP leader and former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry said the Fiji Police Force could not take up offers of a free ride by any bus company because it would be tantamount to accepting an inducement. "No State institution can allow its integrity and independence to be compromised by accepting offers of such nature. This is clearly a vote buying tactic announced at a political campaign meeting just months before an election," Mr Chaudhry claimed.

"Shortage of transport has been a chronic problem within the police force for years. Why is the offer being made now and that at a political meeting?

"The FLP calls on the Electoral Commission to investigate this sort of vote buying tactics as they contravene the Electoral Act."

Mr Chaudhry claimed the corrupt practices needed to be nipped in the bud before it contaminated the entire electoral process.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said the Fijian Elections Office could not comment on media reports until it received direct complaints from concerned parties.

In a statement, Mr Saneem asked this newspaper to avoid asking the FEO for reactions to campaign promises by political parties.

"We are independent and apolitical and do not make comments on political party campaigns," he said.

"If you or any other individual or entity feel aggrieved about any particular matter, kindly raise it directly with us rather than through the media."

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said they would not comment on political issues.

Mr Chand labelled Mr Chaudhry's comments as "garbage and nonsensical".

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