AFP level fraud charges over alleged rigging of 2012 Auburn Council election

salim vote fraud dec 2015

December 20, 2015 Yoni Bashan and James Hooper The Sunday Telegraph

HIGH-profile deputy mayor Salim Mehajer has been charged with forging documents to rig the 2012 ­Auburn Council ballot that got him elected.

An Australian Federal Police ­investigation has also charged ­Mehajer’s sister Fatima, his brother-in-law Jamal Elkheir and five other associates and school friends who ran as candidates in the council poll.

The Mehajer siblings are ­accused of forging documents, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The rest of the group is charged with falsifying their candidate information sheets to claim they resided at addresses in Auburn, making them eligible to run.

The deputy mayor first came to the attention of the wider public ­earlier this year when his wedding, featuring helicopters, sports cars and a military flyover, all being filmed by a professional movie crew, brought parts of Sydney to a standstill.

However, the AFP has been watching Mehajer since 2012, when officials at the Australian Electoral Commission noticed a large number of online and postal applications in the weeks leading up to the poll from people requesting to change their ­enrolment address to Auburn Council’s first ward, where he was standing as a candidate.

Further checks allegedly ­revealed that several dozen of the online applications had been submitted from a computer located at the Mehajer family’s home and another at their business address.

When AFP officers later raided Mehajer’s property at Lidcombe they located a printer that appeared to have the same security identifier as some posted application forms.

Phones were also seized that ­revealed text messages allegedly ­relating to the suspicious applications sent to the AEC.

A second part of the investigation focused on Mehajer’s close associates, who ran with him and his sister as group independent candidates.

Scrutiny of their candidate information sheets revealed they had been falsified to say they lived in ­Auburn, allowing them to run in the ballot as part of a group, police claim.

Mehajer’s group of six contained four people now charged as part of the investigation. His sister’s group of five contained two now charged.

As the head candidates of their ­respective groups, both Mehajer and his sister were given a box “above the line” on the ballot paper, putting them in a favourable position to earn votes. The vast majority of voters at that year’s council election — 77 per cent — voted by ticking a box above the line, according to AEC data.

While Fatima Mehajer was ­unsuccessful, her brother was elected to the fifth and final spot on council by more than 500 votes.

The brief of evidence for the investigation was served on the DPP for assessment in February, several months before ­Mehajer shot to ­notoriety with his lavish wedding.

The investigation, which has been running since August 2012, culminated with court notices being served on all eight people on December 9 and 10.

The others have been named as Jamal Elkheir, Fatima Kandil, Shi Lao, Abhinav Mehta, Arjun Mehta and Ahmad Trad.

“All eight are scheduled to appear in the Downing Centre on 2nd February,” an AFP spokeswoman said.

The Mehajers have each been charged with 76 counts of using forged documents and one each of using false or misleading documents.

The remaining six people have been charged with one count each of using false or misleading documents.

Mehajer responded to the allegations last night on behalf of his sister and his brother-in-law, saying the charges were false and motivated by a hidden agenda.

“Allegations will continue to grow in anticipation to tarnish us however, this will not in any way, shape or form, threaten us to step down,” he said.

“They are false and misleading with hidden agendas to bring us down. We shall remain focused on our roles and responsibilities.”

“It’s all a political game ” he told The Daily Telegraph

“It’s all a political game ” he told The Daily Telegraph

THE CHARGES

Eleven candidates ran across two groups in Auburn Council’s first and second ward. Group H was led by Salim Mehajer and had a total of six candidates running in the first ward.

Group G was led by Fatima Mehajer and had a total of five candidates running in the second ward.

Of these 11 candidates, eight were closely known to each other and have each been charged by the AFP.

Salim Mehajer – Facing charges of using forged documents to commit electoral fraud and producing false or misleading documents. Ran as lead candidate for Group H (first ward) in 2012 Auburn Council elections.

Fatima Mehajer – Salim’s sister. Ran as lead candidate for Group G (second ward) in 2012 Auburn Council election. She is facing the same charges as her brother. Salim’s sister. Ran as lead candidate for Group G (second ward) in 2012 Auburn Council election. She is facing the same charges as her brother.

Fatima Kandil – Salim’s school friend. Ran in Group H with Salim. Charged with producing false or misleading document.

Jamal Elkheir –  Fatima’s husband, who ran beneath her in Group G in the 2012 Auburn Council election. He is Charged with producing false or misleading document.

Ahmad Trad – Fatima Mehajer’s ex-partner. Ran in Group H with Salim. Charged with producing false or misleading document.

Abhinav Mehta – Ran in Group G with Fatima. Charged with producing false or misleading document.

Arjun Mehta – Ran in Group H with Salim. Charged with producing false or misleading document.

Shi Lao – Salim’s school friend. Ran in Group H with Salim. Charged with producing false or misleading document.

 

Editorial:

 Now the AFP have proven to be effective with election fraud investigation, can we expect this to continue into federal government election fraud? 

gangster
Strictly speaking, and barring some rare, isolated cases, there is no electoral fraud in
Australia if by that one means ‘illegal interference with an election process’. None of the defining instances of ‘electoral fraud’ is present in Australia — not intimidation, vote buying, misinformation, misleading or confusing ballot papers, ballot stuffing, mis-recording of votes, misuse of proxy votes or destruction or wrongful invalidation of ballots. It is ‘the electoral process’ itself which is fraudulent by engineered legislation to maintain the two party preferred duopoly. 

In this must read final part of his six part series on Australian fascism, Dr George Venturini looks at Australia‘s undemocratic electoral system – [HERE].

Harry Palmer

http://www.sosnews.org

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