The Indian and North Affairs Department has dissolved the band council of the Shubenacadie First Nation, and ordered a new election for chief and council.

A department representative has finished a long-running appeal of the June 2009 election.

An investigator hired by the federal government found voting discrepancies. He found fraudulent practices, including four falsified ballot declaration forms.

Margot Geduld, department spokeswoman, said the decision to set aside the election results is immediate.

"What's happening at the band is that an electoral officer will now be appointed by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and then an accelerated election will take place as quickly as possible," she said.

"The First Nation will be without elected leadership. So, until a new chief and council are elected, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs will continue to ensure that the delivery of essential programs and services to the membership continues."  

Geduld couldn't say if the results of the investigation will be passed on to the RCMP, or if anyone will be charged in connection with the corrupt practices of the last election.

She also could not say if any of the councillors or the chief were tied to those practices.

Michael Paul, who unsuccessfully ran to become chief of the Shubenacadie First Nation, filed an appeal of the election results, alleging there had been vote tampering.

Paul, who was soundly defeated by Chief Jerry Sack, said he had proof the vote was rigged.

He submitted a list of 14 election irregularities to the federal government, including the claim that falsified ballots from off-reserve voters affected the outcome of the election of both chief and councillors.