Friday, 26 July 2013

Electoral Fraud in Derby - Four Women Sentenced

Four women involved in casting a fraudulent vote during last May’s local elections in Derby have been sentenced for their part in the crime. The sentencing, which took place at Derby Crown Court today (Friday, July 26) sees the conclusion of the first case of its kind in the UK. The Electoral Commission has confirmed that this is the first case where a polling clerk has been involved in an attempt of electoral fraud.

Nasreen Akhtar (46) of Rosehill Street, admitted misconduct in a public office and was sentenced to 14 months in prison. Tameena Ali (27) and Samra Ali (28), both of St Chad’s Road, admitted personation and were given eight months suspended for 18 months and 250 hours of unpaid work.
Noshiela Maqsood (23), of Holcombe Street, pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice and was given the same sentence as the Alis.

Officers launched an investigation into allegations that the two Alis and their aunt Akhtar, who was a polling clerk, worked together to cast fraudulent votes at the polling station in Rosehill Street, Normanton during last May’s local elections. People present at the polling station that day became suspicious when the two Alis came in to vote, despite not living in the Arboretum ward.

Tameena Ali cast a vote in the name of Nosheila Maqsood, whereas Samra Ali left before marking the ballot paper. Akhtar gave Tameena the ballot paper, knowing she was not Maqsood.
Maqsood later lied to officers, telling them that she had personally voted. Fingerprints on the ballot paper proved that it had been touched by Tameena and Maqsood.

Police worked closely with Derby City Council’s Democratic Services Division throughout the investigation.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Richard Foster, of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: “This is an incredibly serious crime that strikes at the heart of our democratic process.
“These women worked together to try and influence the election in that ward. Akhtar’s offence is all the more serious because she was in a position of authority and trust as a polling clerk.”
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