Page last updated at 18:48 GMT, Friday, 1 May 2009 19:48 UK

Six men jailed for election fraud

Six men have been jailed for charges relating to election fraud during a council vote in Berkshire.

The charges related to an election in the Slough Central ward in May 2007 where Labour councillor Lydia Simmons lost her seat to Tory Raja Khan.

Raja Khan, along with two others, had previously admitted the offences. Three other men were convicted by a jury.

The men, all from Slough, were jailed for between four-and-a-half years and four months at Reading Crown Court.

The court heard they created hundreds of false names in the weeks running up to the local election and entered them on the voter register.

Raja Khan, 52, of Oban Court, Montem Lane, was jailed for three and a half years after admitting conspiracy to defraud the returning officer and perjury.

The sentences handed down show the seriousness with which the police, courts and prosecuting authorities take electoral fraud
Peter Wardle, chief executive of the Electoral Commission

He has since been expelled from the Conservative Party.

Gul Nawaz Khan, 58, of Richmond Crescent, pleaded guilty to perjury and was jailed for eight months.

Mohammed Basharat Khan, 46, of Mirador Crescent, admitted conspiracy to defraud the returning officer and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. He was jailed for three years and four months.

Arshad Raja, 53, of Broadmark Road, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the returning officer. He was given an 18-month prison sentence.

Mahboob Khan, 46, of Quinbrookes, was convicted of conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and perjury. He was jailed for four years and six months.

Altaf Khan, 32, of Knolton Way, was found guilty of impersonation but not guilty of conspiracy to defraud the returning officer. He was jailed for four months.

'Relatively rare'

Peter Wardle, chief executive of the Electoral Commission, said: "The sentences handed down today show the seriousness with which the police, courts and prosecuting authorities take electoral fraud.

"Although it is important to stress that electoral fraud is relatively rare, we want every voter to be confident that their vote is secure.

"The Electoral Commission will continue to work with the police and others to prevent and deal with fraud."

Yasar Mumtaz, 20, of Wellesley Road, was cleared of conspiracy to defraud the returning officer.

Former deputy mayor Mohammed Aziz, 50, of Wellesley Road, was found not guilty on the direction of the judge of conspiracy to defraud the returning officer after the jury had failed to reach a verdict.

The prosecution said it would not be seeking a retrial the the case of Mr Aziz.



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