Haiti PM: 6 ex-election officials arrested

AP News
Posted: Jun 05, 2012 8:15 PM
Haiti PM: 6 ex-election officials arrested

Six former election officials in Haiti were arrested Tuesday on charges of misappropriating government property, the office of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said.

Lamothe's office didn't release the names of the individuals, but said a chief prosecutor and a judge made the arrests after authorities found the stolen government property. The property that was confiscated included 460 laptops, 160 photovoltaic panels and 207 memory cards, it said.

Haitian President Michel Martelly fired the nine-member electoral council in December through a presidential decree. His office at the time also ordered the ousted officials to return any government property.

Last month, the terms of one-third of the Senate, or 10 seats, expired because legislative elections weren't held in time to fill the vacancy. The government is expected to organize legislative elections for the empty Senate seats as well as mayoral posts, but it's unclear when the vote will be held.

According to precedent, the new election commission still to be named will likely be composed of the president's allies.

The earlier council, whose members were appointed by former President Rene Preval, oversaw an election that was marred with fraud and irregularities and almost cost Martelly the presidency.

The planned election will prove critical to the Martelly administration as it tries to jump start reconstruction efforts following the 2010 earthquake. Martelly has few supporters in either house of Parliament, and his first year in office was marred with sparring with lawmakers.