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Mogán mayor arrested and town hall forcibly closed by Guardia Civil searching for evidence of vote rigging in 2019

Mogán mayor arrested and town hall forcibly closed by Guardia Civil searching for evidence of vote rigging in 2019
The Mayor of Mogán has been arrested alongside at least two of her councillors, Mencey Navarro and Tanya Alonso, under suspicion of serious electoral fraud, and the alleged rigging of the local elections by offering favours and even cash in exchange for postal votes.

Original reporting courtesy of CanariasAhora
Translation and extra commentary Edward Timon

The Guardia Civil has this Thursday morning seized control of the Mogán town council offices in search of evidence regarding the alleged purchase of votes in the 2019 municipal elections, when Onalia Bueno’s CIUCA party supposedly revalidated their mandate, having won the largest ever outright majority in a Mogán municipal election.

Judicial police entered the Town Council and its offices in Arguineguín, in a surprise raid, and ordered that all computers to be turned off and copies of the servers made. The mayor, Onalia Bueno (CIUCA) was forced to absent herself from an important visit by the former president of Congress, Ana Pastor (PP), to the migrant camp in Arguineguín.

Mogán mayor arrested

Mayor Onalia Bueno was arrested along with her first deputy mayor, Mencey Navarro, and Tania Alonso, Social Services Councillor for Mogán, all members of the governing group (CIUCA-CC) by order of a court investigating charges filed in San Bartolomé de Tirajana, for interference in electoral proceedings and alleged electoral fraud.

Sources from the Guardia Civil, have confirmed this morning that the Mogán Town Council were evicted and the municipal offices searched by order of the San Bartolomé de Tirajana court that has been instructing proceedings, and a up until now secret investigation, regarding the electoral upset in 2019.

Onalia Bueno has been investigated on several occasions before, for possible fraud and vote buying in various electoral processes, including the possible and alleged fraudulent registration of visiting Norwegian tourists as voting residents in local elections.  Very little evidence has ever come to light, until now.

Guardia Civil sources have confirmed to CanariasAhora, a publication who have doggedly followed this case for more than a year, that the collection of evidence is related to the investigation opened for an alleged electoral crime and against the public administration.

The Court of Instruction No.3 in San Bartolomé de Tirajana has been conducting closed investigations of an alleged plot of buy votes in the municipality. Onalia Bueno is heard in a phone call recording, obtained by CanariasAhora, speaking with a sympathiser and explaining how to manipulate votes by mail with her collaborators, and reveals their modus operandi.

The investigation began in the weeks following the 26M 2019 local elections, with a list of stores and bars, and even private homes, where votes were allegedly being trafficked. Not only were votes apparently bought, in exchange for between 50 or 100 euros a time, but also bought votes were allegedly financed through complicit contractors who instructed their employees and their families.

Some of those involved are thought to have set up companies to contract works, with the sole purpose of inflating invoices for small actions in the municipality, with the majority of the amount going to buy commitments from voters ahead of the May 26 ballot. One other line of investigation is based on businesses that have outstanding debts with the Town Council, potentially compromising the vote of owners and employees.

The judicial police team in charge of investigating the alleged push in favour of Onalia Bueno, also possess more than 500 images of the election day. In the images it is allegedly observed how the representatives of the CIUCA – Canary Coalition alliance in the municipality acted on the day in front of polling stations, some directly receiving voters and others even taking the electoral roll.

La Alcaldesa: The Mogán mayor gives instructions on electoral fraud

La Alcaldesa: The Mogán mayor apparetnly gives instructions on electoral fraud, through irregular postal votes. This adds to previous accusations of paying for votes and encouraging local contractors to instruct their employees on how to vote.

Mayor Bueno, her deputy Mencey Navarro and Social Services councillor Tanya Alonso were detained this morning

From an orginal recording obtained by Canarias Ahora

Posted by The Canary News on Thursday, September 17, 2020

Alleged fraud in 2015

In the previous election, CIUCA and Bueno were outed after the fact by one of their collaborators, speaking to ex-mayor Paco González about how he had bought votes in 2015. In a recording, also obtained and broadcast by CanariasAhora, one of the guys responsible for the party’s campaign, José Monzón, known locally as Pepe  El Japanese, explains how the party would have paid for renewals of DNIs or for karate classes in exchange for votes in the municipal elections of May 2015. The plot, according to this conversation, would have also had collaborators within the post offices to deliver the electoral ballots.

CIUCA won those electoral elections with 2,806 votes, just 398 more than the second most voted party, the PP (2,408 votes) represented by Francisco (Paco) González, himself a controversial character. More votes would likely have been bought from other sources and at least one other witness has claimed to have bought 100 votes by mail for this political group.

Postal votes rose sharply between 2011 and 2015 to nearly 500 and the tally grew 3 fold in 2019 to return Bueno and CIUCA to office.  The 1500 or so postal votes cast in Mogán in 2019 represented 10% of all postal votes in the province of Las Palmas, and led to opposition parties refusing to take part in the Mogán council, demanding an investigation. Isabel Santiago of Nueva Canarias said clearly at the time that this demonstrates the existence of “an organised network for illegal voting, which has more weight than ever.”

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