Fiji man’s voting privileges barred for five years

A MAN convicted of electoral offences has had his voting privileges barred for five years by the Suva Magistrates Court.

Rajnil Pratap Sobha has been sentenced to 22 months imprisonment.

He has been ordered to serve one year in custody and the remaining 10 months suspended for five years.

Sobha was initially charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) with one count each of false declaration on an application for voter registration, false declaration on an application for replacement of electronic voter registration card and applying to be registered as a voter on more than one occasion.

He pleaded guilty to the charges last October and admitted to breaching provisions in the Electoral (Registration of Voters) Act 2012 and the Electoral Act 2014 on three different occasions between July 2016 and October 2017.

Sobha had registered to be a voter in Ba using a false name and date of birth and then proceeded to use the same false information and declaration to be issued an upgraded voter card in Nadi, before finally using his real name to register as a voter in Suva.

In passing sentence, Magistrate Kashyapa Wickramasekara, who disqualified Sobha from being registered as a voter or voting in any election for five years, said the offences he committed were a serious threat to the democratic process of elections in Fiji.

Magistrate Wickramasekara also told Sobha that his actions undermined the whole system and could have damaged the public trust in the democratic election system of the country and put the whole process into disrepute.

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