Former Lord Mayor of Birmingham investigated for election bribery
Former Lord Mayor of Birmingham who handed packets of dates to Muslim voters during Ramadan faces investigation for election bribery
- Mohammed Afzal, 78, is facing investigation after handing out packets of dates
- He said two Liberal Democrat candidates falsely accused him of election bribery
A former lord mayor of Birmingham who handed packets of dates to Muslim voters during Ramadan is facing investigation for election bribery.
Labour politician Mohammed Afzal, 78, brought legal action seeking to overturn a result in council elections held in May last year.
Mr Afzal said two victorious Liberal Democrat candidates had falsely accused him of unlawfully handing out gifts during the campaign, according to The Times.
He withdrew his election petition after doorbell footage revealed Afzal and his supporters handing out dates bearing Labour Party stickers to voters.
He was said to be standing in Aston, a Labour stronghold where two Liberal Democrat candidates were instead elected.
Doorbell footage shows former lord mayor of Birmingham Mohammed Afzal handing out dates
Mr Afzal, who handed packets of dates to Muslim voters during Ramadan, is facing investigation for election bribery
He withdrew his election petition after doorbell footage revealed Afzal and his supporters handing out dates bearing Labour Party stickers to voters. [File image]
One had previously been involved in an election dispute with Mr Afzal 15 years ago.
According to Judge Richard Foster, who was sitting as an election commissioner, there was ‘conclusive evidence that indeed [Afzal] and his supporters did supply electors with packets of dates containing Labour Party stickers on a wide-spread basis during the campaign.’
Mr Foster said the disputed election happened during Ramadan – in which eating dates was a traditional way for Muslims to round off their fast.
The judge allowed Mr Afzal to withdraw his petition, commenting that there was ‘overwhelming evidence served on behalf of [his rivals] of illegal election practices in which he participated’.
The judge said explained he was sending a copy of the judgement to the director of public prosecutions and awarded each of the victorious candidates an interim payment of £10,000 towards their costs.
Mr Afzal brought the petition after claiming that the Liberal Democrats, Ayoub Khan, a barrister and Mumtaz Hussain made ‘false allegations’ to sway voters in the ward.
The 78-year-old was Britain’s first elected Muslim Pakistani councillor in 1982.
He and five other Labour councillors had to step down in 2004 after Sir Richard Mawrey QC, then the electoral commissioner, discovered evidence of postal ballot abuse.
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