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Apr 4, 2012

U.D.P. gets election petition against Francis Fonseca

Michael Young

Both political parties today got leave for election petitions. At ten a.m., Michael Young made submissions to seek an election petition on behalf of Lee Mark Chang who charged that bribery was used for votes by one of P.U.P. leader Francis Fonseca’s agents, Albert Vaughn. Young read affidavits from seven individuals who said they accepted bribes from Vaughn to vote for Fonseca in the Freetown Division. In submissions on behalf of Fonseca, Said Musa pointed out holes in the affidavits, saying that it was evident that at least one sworn statement contained lies while others were shaky. None of the statements accused Fonseca of wrong doing. The CJ himself warned that criminal proceedings could result from fraudulent statements made by witnesses. But there was some legal wrangling that the CJ insisted could only be decided by an Elections Judge in an Elections Court. So to do that, leave was granted to apply for the petition. News Five spoke to both attorneys as they left the courtroom. Michael Young called it a “significant and historic decision for Belize on a whole” because it sends a proper message to the public that cash has no place in the elections process.

 

Michael Young, Attorney for Lee Mark Chang

“There was evidence upon which an election petition ought to be filed that the court should grant leave and the court accepted that argument. The court is not going to grant leave unless it looks at the material and satisfies itself that there is a case that can possibly succeed. Bribery, of course by its very nature, is not something that is easy to prove, but in this case there were a number of affidavits. In fact there were about seven affidavits or so.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“One including a video recording also?”

 

Michael Young

“One of them referred to a tape recording, a sound recording; that when this person was receiving the money, the person said “hold ya.” And she still has that on her telephone.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“One of the individuals who sworn an affidavit did not even belong to the Freetown Division. Is that correct?”

 

Said Musa, Attorney for Francis Fonseca

Said Musa

“That is correct.  And I think what is worse is that he did not only did not belong to the Freetown, but he stated in his sworn affidavit that he is a registered voter in the Freetown and that he voted for Lee Mark Chang. Complete lie; totally perjury on the part of Mr. Roger Pennill who is the deponent in this case.”

 

Rowland Parks, Reporter

“Mister Musa the judge makes the point that the people who’s collected these monies or so are in some kind of risk themselves.”

 

Said Musa

“Yes the ones who, if there was a bribery and took the bribe, they are equally guilty under the law.”

 

Rowland Parks

“Can the respondent institute an action against these people?”

 

Said Musa

“That’s a matter for the state; for the police yes.”

 

Rowland Parks

“So that would be coming under the criminal law?”

 

Said Musa

“Yes.”

 

 

Michael Young

“We are not saying that Francis Fonseca bribed anyone. We are not saying that any bribery that was committed was with his consent or knowledge. What we are saying is that agents of his bribed, but that the representation of the people’s act catches also that. And that in fact, candidates themselves are responsible for the acts of agents. In fact, the proper interpretation ought to be in favor of the transparency and integrity of the process; that you have to run your campaign in such a way that agents are not going to bribe. And then you see if agents bribe, it also, irrespective of the absence of proof suggests, especially if they have quite a bit of money, that they might have been doing it with the approval of the candidate even if you can’t actually prove the involvement of the candidate. So that was the case.  There is no finding, but the court found that there is evidence upon which this ground, bribery, an election petition can be filed.”

 

Said Musa

“What we submitted was that the application is flawed from day one because it does not have the material factors required to ground a charge of bribery against any of the so called agents that are accused of bribery in this application: namely Mr.  Vaughn and Mr. Gordon. Secondly, and am summarizing now, even if they were any evidence of bribery; that there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that this was done with the knowledge, authority, consent of the candidate, the honorable Francis Fonseca. And therefore there is no ground for avoiding his election. I argued strenuously that to establish a charge of bribery in a situation like this against an agent of a candidate and to hold the candidate responsible for that—so to the extent of voiding his election—you must show as well that he had some knowledge or that he consented to these actions. And there was no evidence of this.”

 

Michael Young

“Bribery is wrong whether it is blue or red or green. And I think perhaps maybe just from this people will understand first of all the seriousness of the illegality of these acts and that we will try to chart to different routes in the future so that the populace itself would understand that bribery is simply not something to be engaged in.”

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7 Responses for “U.D.P. gets election petition against Francis Fonseca”

  1. Paco Smith says:

    Does the word “hypocrisy” come to mind when reviewing this story? I ask the question, because honestly, I believe it applies across the board.

  2. Jan says:

    Come on people both of them did it. And now far more when they are bring witness. Gosh only in Belize…

  3. Cayo area says:

    lol……..udp silly, lets war against petions, Mr. penner commited bribrey also, he paid me 150.00

  4. drose flowers says:

    SHAME ON THE PUDPSSSS, THEY ARE ACTING LIKE (PICKEY)
    THE ELECTION IS OVER OVER AND DONE, WHY IS THE PUP SO HUNGRY FOR POWER, WHY THE UDP FOLLOW FOOT THE PUPS.
    THE ELECTION IS OVER AND THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY WILL NOT WASTE ANY MORE TIME GOING TO THE POLLS.
    THESE POLITICIANS ARE REALLY STUPID AND FOOLISH,
    STOP MAKE A FOOL OF (UNOSELF)

  5. Pontius Pilate says:

    Politicians are making fool of democracy, the judicial system, of Belize, Belizeans and you.

  6. latinos del norte says:

    pup take more udps to court; because by bribery most of them won or make we say all. because for a fact we know of a good number of persons who were bribed not only( seven stooges).

  7. Cayo Resident says:

    Elections are over drose flowers, that’s true. However, they were not clean. A lot of bribery was used for votes in Cayo and other districts by the UDPS and that’s why the UDP is in power and Honest Belizeans who gave their free clean vote will now pay the consequences of this ” UDP victory”

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