BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
FINAL call is now issued for candidates contesting the 2019 National General Election (NGE) to file their statement of account as tomorrow is the closing date.
Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) in a Press Statement on Thursday revealed that only 100 candidates so far have successfully filed their statement of account out of the 332 contesting this year.
From report, six others also filed their statement of account but they were considered incomplete.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of SIEC Mr Mose Saitala warns those who have not yet filed their statement of account including the six incomplete statements, to do so before 4.30pm tomorrow (July 20), or face prosecution.
According to CEO Saitala, it is a requirement under the electoral law (Section 69 of the Electoral Act 2018) that all candidates, successful and unsuccessful, must file their Statement of Account 90 days after the publication of election results.
“Election results were published on 19th April, therefore the final day for the submission of candidates’ Statement of Account is Saturday, 20th July 2019, 4.30pm.”
SIEC’s CEO said failure to complete and file a Statement of Account in the approved Form provided under Regulation 9A of the Electoral (Amendment) Regulations 2019, carries a penalty of $20,000 or two years imprisonment or both.
“A $100 fine will also be imposed on a daily basis after the lapse of the due date (July 20th), on top of the above penalty, for candidates who failed to meet the deadline.”
“If a candidate wants to reduce the daily $100 fine, they can still submit their statement of account after the due date, but that does not prevent a candidate from prosecution.
“Late submissions only reduce the $100 daily fine according to the number of days the candidate made the late submission, but he/she will still be prosecuted and penalized,” said SIEC’s CEO.
The Chief Electoral Officer in SIEC’s Press Statement urges members of the Government Coalition, Opposition, Independent, political Parties and family members to inform and encourage their colleagues or relatives who contested the recent National General Election, to fulfil this legal obligation.
It is understood that all candidates must file their Statement of Account on the Form approved by the Commission as required under Regulation 9A of the Electoral (Amendment) Regulations 2019 made pursuant to Section 69(2) of the Electoral Act.
This Form is accessible in hard and soft copies from the Office of the CEO.
“The Form requires candidates to make two declarations; a) about funds received and expenses incurred and b) that she/he has not received donation from a foreigner.
“These declarations, contained in the Form, are important because they are related to offences under Sections 125(1) and 125(3) of the Electoral Act.”
Meanwhile, amongst the statements reported by SIEC already handed in, four Members of Parliament (MP) cited to have already submitted their campaign expenses were Minister of Foreign Affairs and MP for Hograno Kia/Havulei Hon Jeremiah Manele, Minister for Traditional Governance and MP for Gao/Bugotu Hon Samuel Manaetoáli, MP for Savo/Rusell Hon Dickson Mua and MP for West New Georgia Vona Vona Hon Silas Tausinga.
“I expect a lot to be streaming in now before Saturday,” says CEO Saitala in an interview with Island Sun.