According to the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), investigations into complaints filed regarding Election Day will be completed by midnight Wednesday without any remaining against the Independent Election Commission’s (IEC) Secretariat Chief Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhail, who resigned his post on Monday amid accusations of fraud.
According to ECC spokesman Nader Mohseni, the complaints that had been logged against Amarkhail were no longer relevant because they were only related to his post at the IEC, which he no longer occupies.
“Most of the issues related to Mr. Amarkhel are resolved…When he resigned, the complaint he had issued as the IEC’s CEO [against the police for orchestrating a plot against him] is no longer valid; Dr Abdullah’s team had asked for his suspension which is also an invalid request now,” Mohseni explained.
However, it was made clear that if any new complaints are registered compelling a criminal investigation into fraud allegedly committed or coordinated by Amarkhail then the ECC would proceed accordingly.
“The only legitimate complaint would be a criminal charge against him [for being involved in fraud] if such a complaint is filed with the ECC,” Mohseni said. “After verifying such a charge, we would refer the case to the judiciary.” He confirmed that no such complaint had yet been filed, with just over a day left before investigations into Election Day complaints are expected to be completed.
Amarkhail’s conduct initially came into question when his convoy was stopped leaving the IEC’s headquarters unannounced with blank ballots on Election Day. Abdullah and his team then followed up in the ensuing days with public accusations that he had orchestrated “industrial-scale” fraud with the approval of President Hamid Karzai in order to ensure victory for Abdullah’s rival, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.
The Abdullah team released supposed audio recordings of Amarkhail planning ballot stuffing ahead of the runoff on Sunday. They demanded he be suspended and said they would not allow the process to move forward unless he was. At the press conference in which he announced his resignation the following day, Amarkhail denied the authenticity of the tapes and said he was stepping down only for the sake of the process and the nation’s best interests.
Nevertheless, while the resignation did lead to Abdullah initiating negotiations with the IEC Monday night, his team has remained adamant that Amarkhail’s actions continue to be investigated so that any fraud he may have been responsible for is weeded out of the election’s results.
“Whatever Amarkhail did is a bigger thing for the ECC to address, his actions were a national treason and it is big injustice for the Afghan people,” said Sayed Aqa Fazel Sancharaki, a member of Abdullah’s team. But with no official complaints regarding criminal activity on the part of Amarkhail registered with the ECC at this time, it seems no investigations will proceed.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s office said on Tuesday that it would address any evidence brought to it by the ECC.
“If there is evidence against someone, it should should be addressed, regardless if he is resigned or is still in his post, so if the ECC has evidence it can to send it to us and then we will take steps,” Basir Azizi, the Attorney General’s spokesman said.
The Fair and Free Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) also said there should be further investigations into Amarkhail. “The evidence that was released was not investigated by the responsible organizations,” FEFA spokesman Faheem Naeemi said. “We want those accusations investigated.”