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Electoral Petition In No. 17: The Court Reject A Request By Adrien Duval

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Adrien Duval, a member of the Mauritian Social Democratic Party (PMSD) and a defeated National Alliance candidate in Constituency No. 17 (Curepipe/Midlands), intended to file an affidavit sworn by a resident of Curepipe in court regarding his allegations of irregularities during the counting of ballots in the said constituency. However, Judges Iqbal Maghoa and Gaytree Jugessur-Manna denied his request.

Adrien Duval’s petition is directed against the Election Commissioner, Irfan Rahman, the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) and the Returning Officer, Sharma Ramphul. The co-defendants are the thirty-three candidates of Constituency No. 17, which includes the Deputy Prime Minister, Steven Obeegadoo, and MP Kenny Dhunnoo. They are represented by Senior Counsel Ivan Collendavelloo.

In court, Adrien testified that Marie Olivia Cassandra Evremon gave him an affidavit, in which she claims to be a member of the Mouvement Mauricien Social-Démocrate (MMSD). In this affidavit, she alleges that on November 8, 2019, the day of the counting of ballots, there were irregularities in the voting room number 13 of St. John Bosco Roman Catholic Aided (RCA) School in Curepipe.

The lawyer of Adrien Duval, Me. Jacques Panglose then asked his client to present the affidavit in question but Me. Priya Veedu Ramjeeawon-Varma, Assistant Parliamentary Counsel and lawyer representing the Electoral Commissioner and the Returning Officer, objected and argued that there is no valid reason put forward by Adrien Duval to explain the absence of Marie Olivia Cassandra Evremon in court so that she could be cross-examined on these claims.

This objection was seconded by Mr. Ivan Collendavelloo. In addition, Mr. Anwar Moolan, Senior Counsel and attorney for the ESC, drew attention to the fact that Marie Olivia Cassandra Evremont is listed as a witness.

The judges issued their ruling on Tuesday, October 19, 2021, agreeing with the arguments presented by Priya Veedu Ramjeeawon-Varma and noted that “there is no valid reason put forward by Adrien Duval as to why Marie Olivia Cassandra Evremont could not be called, except for a statement by her lawyer to the effect that she gave birth. Furthermore, no medical certificate was presented to justify her absence from court.” The judges stressed that they cannot allow hearsay evidence.

As a reminder, in the 2019 general elections, Adrien Duval finished in fourth place, while Steven Obeegadoo took the first place, Michael Sik Yuen the second place and Kenny Dhunnoo the third place.

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