Former Birmingham mayor who handed out packets of dates to Muslim voters during Ramadan faces election bribery investigation
- Mohammed Afzal, 78, faces investigation after delivering packets of dates
- He said two Liberal Democrat candidates falsely accused him of election bribery.
A former Birmingham mayor who handed out packets of dates to Muslim voters during Ramadan is facing an election bribery investigation.
Labor politician Mohammed Afzal, 78, launched legal action to annul the result of the municipal elections held in May last year.
Afzal said two victorious Liberal Democrat candidates had falsely accused him of illegally handing out gifts during the campaign, according to The times.
He withdrew his election petition after doorbell footage showed Afzal and his supporters handing out dates with Labor Party stickers to voters.
He was said to be standing in Aston, a Labor stronghold where two Liberal Democrat candidates were elected instead.
Doorbell footage shows former Birmingham Mayor Mohammed Afzal handing out dates
Afzal, who handed out packets of dates to Muslim voters during Ramadan, is facing an election bribery investigation.
He withdrew his election petition after doorbell footage showed Afzal and his supporters handing out dates with Labor Party stickers to voters. (File Image)
One had previously been involved in an election dispute with Afzal 15 years ago.
According to Judge Richard Foster, who was serving as election commissioner, there was “conclusive evidence that, in fact, (Afzal) and his supporters provided voters with date packs containing Labor Party stickers on a widespread basis during the campaign.”
Foster said the disputed election occurred during Ramadan, when eating dates was a traditional way for Muslims to complete their fast.
The judge allowed Afzal to withdraw his petition, commenting that there was “overwhelming evidence presented on behalf of (his rivals) of illegal electoral practices in which he participated.”
The judge explained that he was sending a copy of the judgment to the director of public prosecution and awarded each of the victorious candidates an interim payment of £10,000 to cover their costs.
Afzal filed the petition after claiming that the Liberal Democrats, Ayoub Khan, a lawyer, and Mumtaz Hussain made “false accusations” to influence voters in the district.
The 78-year-old was the first Pakistani Muslim councilor elected in Britain in 1982.
He and five other Labor councilors had to resign in 2004 after Sir Richard Mawrey QC, then the election commissioner, discovered evidence of postal ballot abuse.