Four more Afghan elec­tion work­ers ar­rested

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

KABUL: Four Afghan elec­tion com­mis­sion em­ploy­ees have been ar­rested, an of­fi­cial said Mon­day in a sign that the po­lit­i­cal in­trigue over Septem­ber's fraud-tainted par­lia­men­tary elec­tion is not over.

It's the sec­ond round of ar­rests since the at­tor­ney gen­eral pledged a wide-rang­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion over the Sept. 18 vote. Four other com­mis­sion em­ploy­ees were ar­rested in late Novem­ber.

The lat­est ar­rests came on Sun­day night but the four have not been charged, said Ab­dul­lah Ah­madzai, the chief elec­toral of­fi­cer of the In­de­pen­dent Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, or IEC. The men worked in lo­gis­tics and ad­min­is­tra­tion for the 2009 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and 2010 par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, Ah­madzai said.

Ah­madzai said the men are ac­cused of in­volve­ment in the al­leged im­proper sell­ing of $8,000 worth of ma­te­ri­als left over from the 2009 pres­i­den­tial race, in­clud­ing ink, pens, paper and tents.

He re­jected the ac­cu­sa­tion and said the ma­te­ri­als were sold with the per­mis­sion of U.N. donors and the money was used to fund op­er­at­ing costs for the com­mis­sion.

An of­fi­cial at the at­tor­ney gen­eral's of­fice con­firmed the ar­rests, but did not pro­vide fur­ther de­tails.

Many had hoped the Sept. 18 par­lia­men­tary vote would prove a suc­cess story for the govern­ment of Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai af­ter a fraud-marred pres­i­den­tial poll nearly un­der­mined his cred­i­bil­ity last year. In­stead, the wait for the leg­isla­tive re­sults dragged on for more than two months amid fraud charges and ac­cu­sa­tions that the pres­i­dent's of­fice was try­ing to in­flu­ence the re­sults. -Ap

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