Political parties flout the law
Only three out of the eight registered political parties since 2000 were able to file their returns and statements of account for 2006 at the Electoral Commission (EC).
Documents made available to the Daily Graphic by the Director of Finance at the EC, Mr I. K. Boateng, showed that as of December 31, 2006, only the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Democratic People's Party (DPP) and the Convention People's Party (CPP) had submitted their audited accounts to the EC, in Compliance with the Political Parties Act.
The National, Democratic Congress (NDC), the People's National Convention (PNC), the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), the EGLE Party and the National Reform Party (NRP), however, failed to honour the constitutional obligation for 2006.
Nevertheless, the EC still finds itself in a dilemma as to how to apply sanctions on the parties who continue to violate the law with impunity.
The Political Parties Act 2000 Act 574 (21) (1) states that "A political party shall, within six months from 31st December of each year, file with the commission a return in the form specified by the commission indicating the state of its accounts, the sources of its funds, membership dues, contributions or donations in cash and or kind, the properties of the party and time of acquisition, such other particulars as the Commission may reasonable require, and audited accounts of the party for the year."
The penalty section of Act 574 provides among other things that "(1) Any person who contravenes a provision of this Act commits an offence,
(2) any person who in furnishing particulars or information required to be furnished by a political party or by him under this Act makes a statement which he knows to be false or which he has no reason to believe to be true or makes a false statement reckless whether it true or not commits an offence,
(3) An offence under this Act, unless otherwise specifically provided for,.shall be punishable with a fine not exceeding ten million cedis or a• term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or both,
(4) Where an offence under this Act is committed by a political party, every executive member of that party shall also be guilty of that offence".
Investigations by the Daily Graphic revealed that whereas the GCPP, from 2000 to 2004, provided only expenditure statements signed by its founder.
EGLE and the NRP had never provided any information concerning their accounts to the EC from 2000 till date.
When contacted, the Director of Public Affairs at the EC, Mr Christian Owusu-Parry, said the Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan was not available, and he could, therefore, not comment on the issue.