Six months after the 2016 general election, the political parties that participated in the polls are yet to comply with the Political Parties Law which mandates them to submit their audited statements of accounts to the Electoral Commission (EC).
This was what came out of a fact-finding mission by the Daily Graphic to the head office of the election management body in Accra yesterday.
According to Section 14 (2) of the Political Parties Law 2000, Act 574, 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.
The act further stipulates that a statement submitted under that section shall be supported by a statutory declaration made by the general or national secretary and the national treasurer of the political party.
Ironically, the EC has so far registered 26 political parties, but with only two weeks to the end of June, none of them, including the two dominant ones — the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the largest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) — has fulfilled this statutory obligation.
The other parties are the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC) and the National Democratic Party (NDP).
Others are the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), the United Front Party (UFP), the United Progressive Party (UPP), the Independent People’s Party (IPP), the All People’s Congress (APC) and the Yes People’s Party (YPP).
The parties which remain dormant but are captured in the data of the EC include the United Ghana Movement (UGM), the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), the National Reform Party (NRP), the United Renaissance Party (URP), the United Love Party (ULP), the New Vision Party (NVP), the Ghana National Party (GNP), the Reform Patriotic Democrats (RPD) and the Ghana Democratic Republican Party (GDRP).
Newly registered parties
It was also noted that most of the newly registered political parties failed to adhere to the declaration of their assets and their expenditure, as captured in Section 13 (1) of the law.
The section states: “Every political party shall, within 90 days after the issue to it of a final certificate of registration under Section 11, submit to the commission a written declaration giving details of all its assets and expenditure, including contributions or donation in cash or in kind, made to the initial assets of the political party.”
Confirming this to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the Director of Finance of the EC, Mr Joseph Kwaku Asamoah, and the Director of Elections, Mr Samuel Tetey, disclosed that the seven-member commission would have to meet by the end of June to exact the appropriate punishment.
Expatiating on the provisions, they said the EC wrote to remind the political parties through a press release on April 11, 2017.
“This was preceeded by an earlier letter which requested the parties to comply with the provisions of the law but, so far, they are yet to do so,” they explained..
Before 2016 polls
It would be recalled that just before the 2016 elections, a few political parties were able to submit their financial statements to the EC as the law required, with most of them flouting it.
Section 14 (1) on the operations of political parties states that “a political party shall, within 21 days before a general election, submit to the commission a statement of its assets and liabilities in such form as the commission may direct”.
“Despite the failure of the parties to adhere to that regulation, the commission may, at any time and upon reasonable grounds, order the accounts of a political party to be audited by an auditor appointed by the commission,” Mr Asamoah pointed out, citing provisions of the law.
Seven parties out of the 25 registered parties as at the close of May 31, 2016 deadline set by the EC had submited their financial statements. They were the PPP, CPP, NDP, DPP, GCPP, IPP and the UFP. The NDC and the NPP fulfiled that obligation after the deadline.
Some governance experts and students of politics are asking why political parties desiring to rule and manage the resources of the country and even the party in power are flouting and showing disrespect to the law regulating their operations.
From the EC’s records in the Fourth Republic which began in 1992, most of the political parties have consistently failed to honour their obligations to the state as far as meeting these financial requirements are concerned.
This is against the backdrop of some of the parties failing to make their presence felt in at least two-thirds of the 275 constituencies across the country.
When the EC raised the red flag about the absence of some political parties in two-thirds of the country last year, those parties tried to redefine the law by arguing that their presence did not mean that they should have offices in buildings but it could be a virtual office or their activities in those areas.
With the exception of the NPP, the NDC and to some extent the PPP, none of the other political parties has a physical presence and visibility in the constituencies.