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Ballot printers make bribery claims against PPM

Fathmath Shaahunaz
11 October 2018, MVT 12:15
September 23, 2018: Election officials count the ballots after voting ends in the Presidential Election 2018. PHOTO/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
11 October 2018, MVT 12:15

M7 Print Pvt Ltd, the firm that printed the ballots for the recently held Presidential Election, has filed a case at the police over members of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) allegedly offering bribes to company staff.

Local media Mihaaru cited a senior official of M7, that some members of PPM offered bribes to several employees of M7, to testify at court that there were issues with the ballot papers. The official shared that local staff were offered MVR 1 million while expatriate staff were offered USD 40,000.

The PPM members who offered bribes were lawmakers and government officials, according to the official.

M7 filed the case at Maldives Police Service last Sunday.

"The staff were threatened never to speak of it," said the official, adding that some of the employees were in tears when they reported the issue to management.

"We requested the police to take this case very seriously as it concerns a national issue."

The official further asserted that none of M7's employees accepted the hefty bribes.

Local media was unable to receive a comment from PPM regarding the matter.

According to Mihaaru, M7 had videoed the printing process of ballot papers, while police officers were also on duty at the scene. Furthermore, the Elections Commission had also looked into the printing process.

Meanwhile, PPM's candidate and incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has submitted a constitutional case against the validity of the election results, at the Supreme Court. The court accepted the case late on Wednesday night.

President Yameen, who lost the election by a wide margin of 38,000 votes to opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, had conceded defeat the day after polling. However, he began to raise doubts regarding the validity of the results just two days later, while PPM is also alleging that there were issues with the ballot papers.

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