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Rock the Vote Fiji referred to FICAC

 

Sep 22, 2022 02:32:30 PM

Rock the Vote Fiji referred to FICAC The Fijian Elections Office (FEO) has referred "Rock the Vote Fiji" organisation to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) for breach of the Act.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem says from their assessment, based on their Facebook accounts, Rock the Vote Fiji purely exists to promote the election of People's Alliance deputy leader Lynda Tabuya and other representatives of the Party.

Saneem in a statement said the FEO has questioned the status and motive of Rock the Vote Fiji.

"It is also not clear as to who are the executives of this organization and even more unclear is the management practices of this organization."

"The organisation has organised numerous sporting activities, hired buses and sold merchandise to individuals."

"They have definitely earned thousands of dollars from donations and fundraising and all of it is purely for political purposes."

Saneem says the Electoral legal framework requires that all donations to political parties and their candidates are declared. In this case, it is noted that senior officials of The People's Alliance have actively participated by either donating money or hosting events via this organization.

The FEO is concerned that ‘Rock the Vote’ has been created to bypass key electoral laws that protect Fijians from unfair campaign practices as well as to protect political parties in terms of a level playing field.

"We have found that this organization breaches the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding & Disclosures) Act."

According to section 2 of the Act, the definition of a political party means: "an association of persons or an organization, the object or activity, or one of the objects or activities of which is, the promotion of the election to Parliament of a candidate or candidates endorsed by it."

The FEO further notes that since its inception, the "Rock the Vote Fiji" has been promoting Tabuya and the activities of The People’s Alliance extensively.

Saneem states that "Speaking from the records of the organization from Facebook, it appears to be as if it is another political party itself. It is clearly not registered as a Political Party."

Furthermore, section 3(2) of the Act states that "If any association of persons or an organization operate, function, represent or hold itself out to be a political party without being registered in accordance with the provisions of this Act, then any person who is a member of or holds office in any such association or organization commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or to both."

By Romeka Romena

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