Friday 25 September, 2020

Devant wants probe into PM’s claims of UNC bribery

Pictured: Former minister Devant Maharaj.

Pictured: Former minister Devant Maharaj.

Former minister Devant Maharaj has called for an investigation into claims made by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley that the United National Congress (UNC) has engaged in bribery to attract votes in the lead up to the August 10 polls.

Maharaj has written to Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Chairman Mark Ramkerrysingh over the allegations made by Dr Rowley on a political platform in La Brea on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister accused the Opposition UNC of attempting to buy votes by giving away refrigerators, stoves and other appliances “by the truckload” to electors.

The former minister called for a thorough investigation into Dr Rowley’s claims as he said the Prime Minister would not make these claims without any evidence proving his accusations.

In Maharaj’s letter dated August 5, he noted the seriousness of the allegations and the possibility of a breach of the Representation of the People Act, which governs the conduct of an election.

“This is indeed a serious allegation has been made by the Honourable Prime Minister that demands to be investigated with alacrity. The Prime Minister statements if true and factual implies that the UNC is attempting to influence the electorate for the upcoming General Elections with these gifts. This appears to be a breach of the Representation of the People Chap. 2:01.”

He said he was “deeply disturbed” by the Prime Minister’s claims as a member of the UNC.

Maharaj indicated that he was not privy nor had he witnessed any such activity by the party. He expressed confidence that the UNC would not engage in any unlawful action during the lead up to the general election.

He noted the parameters within which a candidate or elector, as defined by the Act, was determined to have participated in bribery.

Maharaj called on Ramkerrysingh to look into the matter on the basis on Dr Rowley’s bold assertions.

He wrote: “It appears from what the Prime Minister indicated in his address at the political meeting that he is in possession of facts deserving of your attention. Indeed the Prime Minister would not make such a statement widely and without supporting evidence.”

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