EC Chases NDC, Others
The Electoral Commission (EC) has revealed that apart from the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), none of the political parties that contested the last general elections, including the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has filed its annual audited accounts for the year, contrary to the Political Parties Law (Act 574, Section 21 Sub-section 1a & b).
Consequently, the Commission has fired a disguised caution to the parties, insisting that the fact that the law does not specify any punishment to be meted out to defaulting political parties should not be a license for the parties to disregard their constitutional obligation.
The EC will soon deal with any party which fails to submit their returns and audited accounts by the end of the month, says Mr. I. K. Boateng, Director of Finance of the Commission.
Mr. Boateng, who spoke to this paper in an interview yesterday, said what is happening typifies the usual African attitude where everybody tries to do things at the last hour, stressing that this behaviour must not be allowed to become a yearly ritual.
“All political parties tend to relax after every elections”, he emphasised, adding that over the years many of the parties have almost consistently failed to meet this obligation.
The Act stipulates that “a political party shall within six months from 31st December each year file with the Commission a return in the form specified by the Commission indicating the state of its accounts, sources of its funds, membership dues paid, contributions or donations in cash/kind”.
The law also states that the returns must include “properties of the parties and time of acquisition, submit the particulars as the Commission may reasonably require”.
Within the same period, the law allows that “any person may on payment of a fee determined by the Commission inspect or obtain copies of the returns and audited accounts of the political party filed with the Commission”.
Notwithstanding this section, the Commission may at anytime on reasonably grounds also order the accounts of a political party to be audited by an auditor appointed by the EC.
To Mr. Boateng, though a lot of the parties may lack the needed logistics to meet their various obligations it was necessary that our leaders set the right standards.
A visit to the NDC's Kokomlelme headquarters' yesterday to seek answers to their inability to submit their audited accounts to the EC failed, as all the Executive were said to be in an emergency Executive meeting.
However, the Youth Treasurer of the NPP, Mr. John Boadu, thinks any party worth the leadership of this country must be transparent and accountable to its members.
He said his party believes in democracy, good governance, probity and accountability and that it would always abide by the Constitution at all times.
According to him political parties over the years have been calling for some form of governmental support and that the only way he believes this would be possible is for political parties to be transparent to their members.
He said a thorough check at the EC indicates that many of the parties don't file their returns but that for government to know their problems and consider to assist them they must first show transparency in their dealings with their followers.
On what punishment to mete out to parties which fail to regularly submit their audited accounts, John Boadu, said the ultimate punishment is for Ghanaians not to vote such parties into power.
“If you cannot account for your own people, how can you account for the whole country”, he stressed, saying that “as we encourage government to support political parties, we must first show responsibility with our obligation”.
According to him, his party's early filing of its account this year was part of its effort to meet its constitutional obligations, asking other parties to also abide by the supreme law of the law.
He added that though the Political Parties Law does not debar anybody from making contributions to any party, it enjoins every party to be transparent and accountable.