Fifty-seven political parties failed to submit details of their expenses in the 2019 general election.
Although 91 political parties participated in this year’s elections, only 34 had submitted reports of their expenses to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as of Thursday.
The electoral act, the law guiding Nigeria’s elections, mandates political parties to submit to INEC audited returns of their expenses during the elections as well material contributions received from individuals and corporate bodies.
Section 92 (3) of the act states: “Election expenses of a political party shall be submitted to the Commission in a separate audited return within 6 months after an election and such return shall be signed by the political party’s auditors and counter-signed by the Chairman of the party and be supported by a sworn affidavit by the signatories as to the correctness of its contents.”
But four months after the deadline, most of the political parties have not complied.
An INEC document sighted by TheCable stipulated that while 34 parties submitted details of their expenses as well as material contributions, 57 others did not do so.
Although the parties were not listed, most of the erring parties are among the 73 that participated in the presidential election, according to an INEC source.
TheCable reports that the commission is conducting an independent review of the election expenses.
While the electoral act specifies returns to be made to include amount of money spent as well as what they were used for, it stipulates that failure to comply is punishable by a maximum of N1 million fine.
Section 92 (4) of the electoral act states: “A political party which contravenes subsection (3) of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of Nl,000,000 and in the case of failure to submit an accurate audited return within the stipulated period, the court may impose a maximum penalty of N200,000 per day on any party for the period after the return was due until it is submitted to the Commission.
“(5) The return referred to in subsection (3) of this section shall show the amount of money expended by or on behalf of the party on election expenses, the items of expenditure and commercial value of goods and services received for election purposes.”
Rotimi Oyekanmi, spokesman of INEC chairman, did not immediately respond to inquiries on the issue of parties yet to submit their audited returns.
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