Failed school trustee candidate who claimed to be victim of racist death threats charged under Election Act

Failed school trustee candidate who claimed to be victim of racist death threats charged under Election Act

A Calgary school board trustee candidate who made headlines when she reported being the victim of racist threats has been charged under the Local Authorities Election Act following an investigation.

Nimra Amjad, 32, has been charged with signing a candidate's acceptance form that contains a false statement and making a false statement for a purpose related to an election.

Police believe she was not eligible to run for office when she unsuccessfully ran last fall as a Ward 3 and 4 school trustee candidate.

The seat on the Calgary Board of Education was won by Althea Adams.

The anti-corruption unit began investigating Amjad on Oct. 30, 2017, after a member of the public reported Amjad was not a Canadian citizen and therefore not eligible to run.

"It is alleged that the candidate filed both a notice of intent to run and a nomination acceptance form, swearing or affirming she had read the eligibility requirements and was legally eligible to run," according to police.

It is a crime for a non-citizen to file either of those documents.

Det. Jeff MacQueen said the charges are rare, which is why the investigation took quite a while.

"I don't think that it's something that happens on a regular basis, but it is concerning," MacQueen told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

"It does not appear that she is a Canadian citizen."

No byelection

The city clerk responsible for Calgary elections says it's too late to challenge this election and there won't be a byelection.

"That time period, which is set out in the legislation, of six weeks to challenge the results of the election has passed and the results are now official and final," Laura Kennedy told CBC News.

But depending on the outcome of the charges against Amjad, there could be elections-related penalties on top of the maximum court sentence fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to six months in jail.

"If the candidate is found guilty, they are barred from running in an election and acting as an official agent for the next 10 years."

Amjad's lawyer, Steve Virk, says he has not reviewed the file just yet, but he did question why the investigation took so long.

Virk told CBC News he's asking for disclosure Tuesday.

'Glad the truth has come out'

Laura Hack, who ran against Amjad in last October's school board election, reacted to news of her being charged.

"I'm glad the truth has come out, and as someone who ran against her, I hope no one else has to even question eligibility of other candidates," Hack said. "I hope that changes are implemented for future races that ensure this doesn't happen again."

Racist death threats appear false

Amjad first made headlines when she reported being the victim of racist threats ahead of the election.

Two days before the election, CBC News reported the hate crimes unit had dropped its investigation after Amjad became unco-operative and the man she had accused said not only did he not do it, but he had dated Amjad.

An email chain between Amjad and the detective provided to CBC News depicts a frustrated investigator attempting to get a statement out of an uncooperative Amjad.

"I note that you have utilized the media in regard to this incident," wrote Const. Craig Collins. "This investigation is reaching Day 6, and you have not provided any formal statement to the police, despite numerous attempts by the police to obtain your statement."

In an interview with CBC News, Amjad changed her story numerous times.

She initially denied ever meeting or knowing Shawn Street, but by the end of an hour-long conversation she confirmed she'd met Street online and had gone on several dates with him.

Amjad is set to appear in court Feb. 13.

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