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Malta Nursing Council accused of holding fraudulent elections - News - Nurses Arena Forum

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Malta Nursing Council accused of holding fraudulent elections by Idowu Olabode : September 03, 2016, 03:23:30 PM
An independent inquiry has been appointed to investigate the election of the nursing council following accusations of “fraud and abuse” made in a judicial protest, the Health Ministry said this morning.

It will be led by Joseph Caruana, permanent secretary within the Environment Ministry.
 
The protest filed on Thursday by lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Kris Busietta said the election had been flawed.



In the judicial protest, the two unsuccessful candidates – Corinne Ward and Maria Cassar – demanded a public inquiry into  the election run by an electoral commission set up to oversee the process. The protest also requested that the Health Ministry refrain from endorsing the result.

Health Minister Chris Fearne told the Times of Malta yesterday that the Council for Nurses and Midwives was an autonomous body that appointed its own electoral commission. It was the council that was responsible for publishing the electoral results.

Yet the minister committed to appointing a public inquiry “within hours”.

The evidence mentioned in the judicial protest includes two sets of ballot papers, one of which seems photocopied - the rubber stamp on these ballot papers was not original and the same mark consistently appeared on each ballot paper in this set.

The judicial protest said the ballot papers consistently favoured the three candidates that were elected, all council members of the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses. The three members of the electoral commission are also active members of the MUMN.

Suspicion was also raised in relation to the number of votes submitted, which was unusually high. Almost 2,000 votes were submitted (twice the usual number) adding to concerns that ballot papers were photocopied to favour those elected.

Sources have told this newspaper that 700 identical envelopes were discovered – the votes were submitted by post.  Candidates were also denied information of what comprised the unique identifying element of a valid, authentic ballot, the sources added.

The two nurses argued that the election did not provide the rigour, transparency and security expected in an election for councillors holding such an important role. They pointed out the health sector was going through some major transitions and the council’s role was critical in the process.

The council is responsible for upholding high professional and educational standards for the profession.

Source : Times of Malta

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