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Public will access list of NGE candidates who complied with the law

 

BY BARNABAS MANEBONA

PUBLIC will soon know which 2019 NGE candidates complied with the law and which ones did not.

Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) has assured curious members of public that it will release the List soon onto their website, and through the media.

SIEC CEO Mr Mose Saitala said yesterday that his office is currently ‘finalising their formatting’ and ‘thank you message’ with the List for their website.

According to Saitala, uploading the List is a way of saying thank you too for the 2019 NGE candidates complying with the Electoral Act.

“We will be uploading shortly to our website the ‘List’ of Candidates who have successfully and unsuccessfully filed their statements of account as our way of saying thank you for those who had tried to comply with section 69 of the Electoral Act,” said Saitala.

Earlier this week, members of public requested the SIEC to release the list of candidates who submitted their statements of account.

They demanded that merely announcing the number of candidates who submitted is not enough – they want to see names.

A total of 79 candidates out of 331 contesting during the 2019 NGE were reported last week to have not filed their campaign ‘statements of account’ before the due date required under the Electoral Act 2018.

2019 NGE Election results were published on April 19 seeing July 20 was when the 90 days period given for submission of statements of account lapsed.

Having the general public’s call, SIEC’s confirmation yesterday to Island Sun somehow meets their request.

“Report has it too that there might be a few Members of Parliament (MPs) who have not submitted their campaign ‘statements of account’ on which seeing a list provided would confirm such information,” said members of the public.

It is a requirement under the electoral law (Section 69 of the Electoral Act 2018) that all candidates, successful and unsuccessful, must file their campaign Statement of Account 90 days after the publication of NGE election results.

Under Section 69 on campaign expenses in the Electoral Act 2018, it states;

  1. Within 90 days after the publication of an election result under section 107, a candidate in the election must submit to the CEO a statement of account specifying:

(a) All expenses incurred by the candidate in relation to the candidate’s campaign for election; and (b) the source of all funds (including the amount received from each source) used to meet those expenses.

  1. The regulations may make provision for the preparation and content of the statement of account.

Under Section 125; Campaign expenses and donations:

(1) A candidate whose election campaign expenses exceed $500,000 commits and offence.

Maximum Penalty: 50,000 penalty units or 5 years imprisonment, or both.

(2) A candidate who fails to comply with the requirements of section 69 commits an offence.

Maximum Penalty:

(a) 20,000 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment, or both; and

(b) 100 penalty units for each day the offence continues.

(3) A candidate commits an offence if the candidate accepts a campaign donation from:

(a) A person who is not a citizen of Solomon Islands; or

(b) A company with at least one shareholder who is not a citizen of Solomon Islands.

Maximum Penalty: 50,000 penalty units or 5 years imprisonment, or both.

(4) In this section, “campaign donation” means any transfer of property made, otherwise than by will, without consideration or with inadequate consideration that is intended to be used, or is used, solely or substantially for a purpose related to an election.

Candidates not complying with the electoral law on submission of campaign statements are now under investigation and possibly to face prosecution says CEO Saitala.

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