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16-04-2012 - Gulfnews

Plea to lift immunity of Shura members rejected

MuscatL Shura council members in Oman rejected a request from the Public Prosecution Department to lift immunity of two of the 84 elected members so that they could be interrogated for charges of buying votes during the 7th Shura Elections held in October last year.

According to a source, a secret ballot by members in the house rejected the request by the Public Prosecution. Neither the vote pattern nor the names of the two Shura members were made public.

"It is a matter for the House [Shura] and it will remain inside the House," the source said.

The members voted to reject the request during the first annual sitting of the sixth term of the house. Shaikh Khalid Bin Hilal Al Maawali, Shura Chairman, presided over the session.

The Shura members felt that the complaint (of bribery) against the members was too late as the elections were held five months ago on October 15. "Why did it take the complainant so long to come forward?" the source wondered.

A Shura team studied the Public Prosecution charges in detail and held a meeting with the Attorney-General to discuss the issue before going ahead with the vote.

The Public Prosecution request came after a voter confessed that a candidate paid him in return for his vote.

According to the Shura Elections Regulations, any objections or complaints against successful candidates have to be submitted within 10 days of declaration of the provisional results. The committee looking into such complaints must give results of its investigations on such complaints within 30 days.


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