7 PARTIES MEET EC DEADLINE; NDC, NPP OTHERS DEFAULT IN PRESENTING AUDITED ACCOUNTS….
The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the largest opposition political party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), are among 19 political parties that could not meet the Electoral Commission’s (EC’s) deadline for the submission of their audited financial accounts.
As of the close of last Tuesday, only seven political parties out of the 26 so far registered by the election management body had complied with the directive for all political parties to present their financial accounts for scrutiny.
In April this year, to show proof of how accountable the political parties are to the electorate and the general Ghanaian populace, the commission, in accordance with the Political Parties Law, Act 574, gave the parties up to May 31, 2016 to submit details of their audited accounts or face punitive sanctions .
It further requested the parties that participated in the Talensi by-election to submit their respective detailed expenditure on the election to it.
Additionally, the commission, per Section 15(1) of the Political Parties Law, Act 574, directed all political parties that had been issued with final certificates of registration within the last 90 days to furnish it with the details of their existence and location of its offices at the national, regional, district and constituency levels.
Pursuant to Act 574, all registered political parties are to comply with Section 21(1) (b), which requires that audited accounts of the political parties for the year shall be submitted to the EC.
According to Section 14(2), a political party shall, within six months after a by-election in which it has participated, submit to the commission a detailed statement of all expenditure incurred for that election.
But as of the close of the deadline last Tuesday, only the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the National Democratic Party (NDP), the Democratic People’s Party (DPP), the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), the Independent People’s Party (IPP) and the United Front Party (UFP) had met their obligations.
The seven political parties, according to EC records, submitted their financial statements from 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The All People’s Congress (APC), the 26th political party which recently received its final certificate to commence business as a fully registered political party was not part of the parties expected to submit their accounts because they had just started operating.
19 Parties fail
Ironically, from 2012, the NDC and the NPP, among 19 other parties, failed to submit their financial statements to the EC. The other parties are the People’s National Convention (PNC), the Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere Party (EGLE Party), the United Ghana Movement (UGM), the Ghana Democratic Republican Party (GDRP), the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) and the Reformed Patriotic Democrats (RPD).
The rest are the National Reform Party (NRP), the Ghana National Party (GNP), the United Renaissance Party (URP), the New Vision Party (NVP), the United Love Party (ULP), the United Front Party (UFP), the United Development System Party (UDSP), the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), the Yes People’s Party (YPP) and the United Progressives Party (UPP).
The election management body has been harshly blamed for failing to implement the Political Parties Act 2000 (Act 574) to the letter and by the reminder, it was the expectation that in accordance with the law the political parties will comply with the directive.
In the opinion of the Director of Finance of the EC, Mr Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, he did not subscribe to the proscribing of the defaulting parties since he did not want the parties to be excluded in the electoral process.
He, however, expressed dismay at why the political parties would fail to comply with the laws of the land.
Mr Asamoah said the law (Act 574) was explicit and unambiguous and had been in the statute since 2000 and that since the country was governed by political parties they must comply with the dictates of the law.
“He who wants equity must come with clean hands” he said, and retorted that “if the EC had failed to comply with the provisions of the electoral law, the political parties would spare no effort at pouncing on the commission.
“Political parties as public organisations which receive contributions from the public are enjoined to be accountable to the people” he said adding “the time has come to ensure the compliance of the provisions of the law for the sake of accountability and transparency in the organisation and operations of the parties as far as their finances are concerned.”
He said the EC served notices to all political parties to present their audited accounts to it for scrutiny in August, 2015 and cautioned them that it would crack the whip on them come January, this year. “ But we are in June and most of the political parties have simply failed to comply.
“We cannot sit aloof. The commission in its wisdom thinks we need to ensure compliance and the provisions of the law were not established yesterday. It has been in the statute books since 2000; there must be an end to the road,” he cautioned.
NPP, NDC tight-lipped
When the Director of Communications of the NPP, Nana Akomea was contacted to ascertain why the party had failed to meet the deadline, he referred the matter to the party treasurer, Mr Kwabena Abankwa-Yeboah but he could also not be reached by phone since all calls made to his line gave the feedback that his phone was off.
In the case of the NDC, when the Daily Graphic reached the party’s Deputy General Secretary, Mr Koku Anyidoho, he said that he would confer with others and get back to the paper.
PPP, CPP reactions
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the PPP, Nii Allotey Brew-Hammond, said the EC must enforce the law to the letter if the political parties failed to meet the requirement.
“We have complied and our financial statement has been submitted and we have received acknowledgement letters from the EC. We are not asking the EC to do anything but to enforce the law. The EC must operationalise the law, whatever form it takes. We want to let people know that the best way to develop the nation is to be law-abiding,” he underscored.
But the Chairman of CPP, Professor Edmund Delle, said the electoral body risked being sued if it withdrew the certificates of political parties that failed to meet its requirements.
“There should be a dialogue between the EC and these parties if it means giving them an extension. The smaller ones have something to contribute to multi-party democracy, or it should find a way to amend the law to be more inclusive than exclusive. It is likely that some of these smaller parties can also take the EC to court,” Prof. Delle added.
By: Kobby Asmah & Joe Okyere
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