Sikh leader faces fraud case in NZ

Aukland, New Zealand : A top leader of the Sikh community in New Zealand allegedly committed fraud and lied in an attempt to win a local body election three years ago, a High Court jury in Auckland was told today.

“This fraud did take place,” Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey told the jury considering 38 charges against Labour Party member and Sikh leader Daljit Singh.

Singh and other community members have all pleaded not guilty. They are accused of forging documents to change residential addresses showing that people from places such as Timaru and Tauranga lived in the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board area.

Singh was a candidate in the first super-city election in 2010. The trial is into its eighth week having heard from 200 witnesses. “We can see the end now,” Justice Mark Woolford told the 11-person jury this morning.

Also on trial are Gurinder Atwal, Davinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Virender Singh, Paramjit Singh, Malkeet Singh and Harmesh Singh.

“The vast majority of those whose addresses were changed were unaware it was happening,” McCoubrey said.

The EEC noticed many voters were registered to the same address. They also found that they were coming from the same internet provider, or same computers and these were from Daljit Singh’s home and from Atwal’s. McCoubrey in closing told the jury there had been a lot of talk in the trial about the Punjabi community, but warned them against generalisations. Consider whether it actually happened rather than whether it was the thing that could have happened, he said.

Source: The Tribune

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