I did not tamper with ballots: Komichi

HARARE - Morgen Komichi, MDC chief elections officer, accused of fraud and contravening the Electoral Act, has denied tampering with ballot paper envelopes, claiming when he received the packet, it was open.

Komichi told the court yesterday that Michael Phiri handed him open ballot paper envelopes and he did not tamper with or change anything on them.

“I want to tell the truth before God,” Komichi said.

“I am not trying to run away from the case but all envelopes were open when Michael Phiri handed them to me. He (Phiri) even mentioned that they were open (envelopes) when he was given by someone who claimed picking them from a dustbin at Harare International Conference Centre (HICC). He came directly to me because I was overally in charge of elections in my MDC party.”

Komichi said he wanted the matter handled confidentially.

“I tried to contact Justice Rita Makarau because I wanted the matter handled confidentially but it was fruitless. I was troubled because I did not want the day to pass without handing the documents to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,” he said.

Komichi said he was surprised when a meeting was later convened to discuss the issue after top government officials were called in.

“When I was called for a meeting I was surprised to see Makarau in the company of commissioner Gambe, Sekeramayi, Mutemasango, Chidhakuza and many others,” he said.

His lawyer Alec Muchadehama claims Zec failed to handle the July election process, resulting in some ballot papers going missing.

Allegations are that on July 25 at HICC, Komichi approached Tendayi Pamire asking to have an audience with Makarau after a ballot envelope was found in a rubbish bin outside the command centre.

The State alleges that Komichi accused Zec of destroying ballot papers of members of the uniformed forces who voted for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC.

According to State papers, the envelope belonged to constable Mugove Chiginya, a police officer supposed to have voted for the MDC in the Southerton constituency.

The court heard that Chiginya, however, failed to vote during the special voting period.

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