IEC probed over voter fraud

LMPS in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­le­ga­tions the com­mis­sion im­ported a ma­chine which is be­ing used to du­pli­cate the vot­ers’ roll.

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

THE Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice ( LMPS) is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC) over al­le­ga­tions the com­mis­sion im­ported a ma­chine which is be­ing used to du­pli­cate the vot­ers’ roll.

Ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments the Le­sotho Times has man­aged to ob­tain, the LMPS was now in­ves­ti­gat­ing pos­si­ble fraud in the voter-reg­is­tra­tion process fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of two reg­is­tra­tion cards with the same se­rial num­ber.

Tha­bang Mokhosi (37) and No­mak­eri Amelia Kh­waza (29), the doc­u­ments state, reg­is­tered to vote in Ma­put­soe and Moyeni con­stituen­cies re­spec­tively, and were is­sued reg­is­tra­tion cards bear­ing the same se­rial num­ber, 032250020195.

The LMPS Com­mer­cial Crimes Counter Unit (CCCU) al­leges a ma­chine bear­ing se­rial num­ber MR225 was used to du­pli­cate the cards in vi­o­la­tion of the Na­tional As­sem­bly Elec­toral Act of 2011 and Pe­nal Code Act of 2010.

CCCU head, Se­nior In­spec­tor Sera Cedric Makhar­ilele, has since sought an or­der from the Maseru Mag­is­trate’s Court di­rect­ing the IEC to pro­vide him with “in­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to the im­por­ta­tion of the reg­is­tra­tion ma­chine bear­ing se­rial num­ber MR 225”.

The court or­der, which was is­sued by Mag­is­trate Monyake Hla­banyane and dated 28 Jan­uary 2015, reads: “Hav­ing heard No 10555 Se­nior In­spec­tor Makhar­ilele, and hav­ing heard (and) read his af­fi­davit, the court or­ders that the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion fur­nishes him with in­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to the im­por­ta­tion of the reg­is­tra­tion ma­chine, the dis­trict it was al­lo­cated to and per­son as­signed to op­er­ate it.”

In his af­fi­davit, Se­nior In­spec­tor Makhar­ilele noted: “Be­cause this af­fi­davit is be­ing sub­mit­ted for the limited pur­pose of se­cur­ing a court or­der, I have not in­cluded each and ev­eryy fact known to me con­cern­ing this in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“I have set forth only the facts that I be­lieve are nec­es­sary to es­tab­lish prob­a­ble cause to be­lieve that there are two elec­toral reg­is­tra­tion cards with the same se­rial num­ber (032250020195) which one or both were fraud­u­lently is­sued con­trary to the pro­vi­sions of the Na­tional As­sem­bly Elec­toral Act.

“I there­fore re­quest the IEC to fur­nish me with in­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to the im­por­ta­tion of the reg­is­tra­tion ma­chine, dis­trict al­lo­cated to and the per­son as­signed to op­er­ate it.”

Se­nior In­spec­tor Makhar­ilele fur­ther noted how he had made sev­eral at­tempts to ac­quire the in­for­ma­tion he sought from the IEC to no avail.

“I seek this court or­der as a last re­sort af­ter all means to se­cure the in­for­ma­tion were ex­hausted.

“I may site the let­ter(s) dated 28 Novem­ber 2014, 3 De­cem­ber 2014 and 18 De­cem­ber 2014 at­tached hereto as cor­re­spon­dence and proof,” Se­nior In­spec­tor Makhar­ilele stated.

In his last let­ter ad­dressed to the IEC Act­ing Direc­tor of Elec­tions, ’Ma­matlere Pon­tšo Matete, Se­nior In­spec­tor Makhar­ilele said:

“The Com­mer­cial Crimes Counter Unit is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a case of al­leged forgery, fraud and de­feat­ing and ob­struct­ing the cause of jus­tice as in­ter­preted by the Pe­nal Code Act of 2010 as well as con­tra­ven­ing the pro­vi­sions of the Elec­toral Act. This in­volves voter’s num­ber 032250020195.

“This let­ter serves as a re­minder for the re­quest of in­for­ma­tion which was for­warded to your depart­ment on 3 Novem­ber 2014.

“The re­quested in­for­ma­tion was based on the im­por­ta­tion of the reg­is­tra­tion ma­chine bear­ing se­rial num­ber MR225, dis­trict al­lo­cated to and per­son as­signed to op­er­ate it and ac­qui­si­tion of source doc­u­ments (sub­mit­ted doc­u­ments at the front desk) when the sub­ject was ap­ply­ing for reg­is­tra­tion and granted a card bear­ing the said se­rial num­ber on 27 March 2012.

“Also re­quested were source docu- ments per­tain­ing to the amend­ment of the same voter’s num­ber on 19 April 2012.”

Con­tacted for com­ment, Ms Matete con­firmed the de­vel­op­ments, telling the Le­sotho Times: “It is true we re­ceived that court or­der. We have since sub­mit­ted that par­tic­u­lar ma­chine to the po­lice, but they (po­lice) said they did not want the ma­chine per se.

“In­stead, they listed items they needed to com­plete their in­ves­ti­ga­tion. How­ever, be­cause we are busy pre­par­ing for the elec­tions, we have not yet put to­gether that in­for­ma­tion they listed.”

Ms Matete added that last Thurs­day, the po­lice sum­moned four IEC of­fi­cials to the CCCU depart­ment at Po­lice Head­quar­ters, Maseru, for in­ter­ro­ga­tion.

“Mr Makhar­ilele came him­self and re­quested the in­for­ma­tion and also took four of our of­fi­cials to po­lice head­quar­ters for in­ter­ro­ga­tion re­gard­ing this mat­ter.

“The of­fi­cials later came back to the of­fice af­ter be­ing asked some ques­tions re­lat­ing to the is­sue,” Ms Matete said.

Asked to ex­plain the is­suance of the reg­is­tra­tion cards with the same se­rial num­ber, Ms Matete said: “We were aware of that prob­lem even be­fore the po­lice came to in­ves­ti­gate.

“We are cur­rently work­ing on a last­ing so­lu­tion to pre­vent such prob­lems which I be­lieve were due to tech­ni­cal er­rors and were not in­ten­tional.”

IEC Act­ing Direc­tor of Elec­tions,electi ’Ma­matlere Pon­tšo Matete

IEC Act­ing Direc­tor of Elec­tions ’Ma­matlere Matete

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