Only one out of the seven political parties that contested the 2008 general election has submitted its audited accounts for 2008 to the Electoral Commission (EC) as required by the Political Parties Law. Section 21 Subsection (1) of Act 574 (2000) requires political parties to submit audited accounts of a preceding year to the EC by June 30 of the following year.
However, two months down the line only the Democratic People's Party (DPP) has presented its audited accounts for 2008, according to the Director of Finance of the EC, Mr I. K. Boateng. The others - the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Convention People's Party (CPP), the People's National Convention (PNC), the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) and the Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD) - have not submitted their accounts to the EC.
Mr Boateng said some of the political parties which registered with the EC but did not contest the 2008 election had not submitted their accounts for between two and four years.
The audited accounts are meant to give the financial position of the political parties in terms of their assets and liabilities. They also give information on fixed assets (items that can be used for more than one year), current assets (assets that can be disposed of within a year), as well as their liabilities. He said the audited accounts "tell a political party's financial position, whether it is in debt or not. They also show whether the acceptable accounting procedure is followed".
According to Section 14 Subsection 1of the Political Parties Law, "A political party shall, within twenty-one days before a general election, submit to the commission a statement of its assets and liabilities in such form as the Commission may direct."
Section (2) says, "A political party shall, within six months after a general or by-election in which it has participated, submit to the commission a detailed statement in such form as the commission may direct of all expenditure incurred for that election." And Section (3) provides, "A statement required to be submitted under this section shall be supported by a statutory declaration made by the general or national secretary of the political party and the national treasurer of that party."
On the penalty, Section (4) stipulates, "Without prejudice to any other penalty provided in this Act or any other enactment, where a political party (a) refuses or neglects to comply with this section; or (b) submits a statement which is false in any material particular, the commissioner may cancel the registration of the political party."
According to Mr Boateng, both the NDC and the NPP presented their audited accounts for 2007, while the CPP and the PNC presented theirs up to 2005. He said the political parties were supposed to comply with the law requiring them to submit their audited accounts to the EC and indicated that their failure to do so amounted to flouting the law.
"The law says by 30th June the audited accounts of the preceding year should have been presented. So if they (political parties) do not comply, they have broken the law,' he said.
Mr Boateng, however, admitted that the political parties had not reorganised fully after the rigorous 2008 elections, noting that the leadership of none of the political parties had sent any correspondence to the EC regarding its inability to submit its audited accounts.
In the same way, he said, the EC had not written to the political parties to remind them of their constitutional requirement to submit their audited accounts. He said the EC would take it up to write to the parties soon.
Source: Daily Graphic
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