Four arrested on charges of election fraud, Afghan prosecutor says
Four suspects have been arrested on charges of fraud and bribery during recent parliamentary elections that were marred by massive fraud, a senior prosecutor said Thursday, DPA reported.
The four included two money changers who had received cash on behalf of election officials to help certain candidates secure seats in the country's lower house of parliament, Deputy Attorney General Rahmatullah Nazari said at a press conference.
He said some members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), the body that conducted the September 18 elections, were also involved in receiving bribes. "These officials are decision makers" in the IEC, he said.
The allegation came after the IEC on Wednesday declared 238 final winners of seats in parliament, while the results for 11 candidates in the southern province of Ghazni were withheld due to technical reasons.
More than 2,500 candidates, including over 400 women, vied for 249 seats in the lower house, known as the Wolesi Jirga.
Nazari accused the IEC on Wednesday of "prematurely releasing" the final results, saying his office has launched a criminal investigation into vote fraud.
The election, the second since the ouster of Taliban regime in late 2001, was marred by widespread fraud, irregularities and Taliban attacks. More than 1 million fraudulent votes were found and thrown out prior to the announcement of the final results.
A UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission has also sifted through about 6,000 complaints since the polling day and disqualified 19 people, including a cousin of President Hamid Karzai.
The IEC also disqualified another five candidates who were declared winners in the preliminary results.