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-On Declaration Of Assets; Only Nine Political Parties Obey
When laws are made, the intention is clearly defined as creating an environment of adherence by those such laws covered. At the national, institutional and organizational levels, the same remains that people act in consonance with requirements enshrined in laws, be it understanding, agreement or other instruments.

NEC headquarter9x6As Liberia’s electoral body, the National Elections Commission (NEC) is commissioned by law to set standards for the conduct of elections, for political institutions that partake in elections for national leadership. Of several benchmarks laid down for political parties is declaration of assets, to know their financial and material worth.

In line with this mandate, the NEC has overtime called parties’ attention to this legally salient binding obligation, but with little breakthroughs. However, amidst flowery of political activities ahead of the vote on October 10, NEC is not letting sleeping dogs to lie, as it has now sounded ukase to parties yet to comply with the “assets declaration requirement.” Otherwise, such parties are in trouble as it (NEC) contemplates deciding their fate any time soon. Senior Reporter Reuben Sei Waylaun reports.

The Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) is to shortly meet to make a determination of parties yet to adhere to their obligations as per the constitution of Liberia on declaration of assets, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, Chairman of NEC, has announced.

As far as NEC’s records are concerned, out of the 26 registered political parties in the country only nine political parties obeyed the law by declaring their assets.

Citing Article 83 of the Liberian Constitution, Cllr. Korkoya said it is by law that those political parties and their candidates declare their assets every year.

Article 83 (d) of the Constitution states, ‘Every political party shall, on September 1 of each year, and every candidate of such political party and every independent candidate shall, not later than thirty days prior to the holding of an election in which he is a candidate, publish and submit to the Elections Commission detailed statements of assets and liabilities.”

These shall include the enumeration of sources of funds and other assets, plus lists of expenditures, the law also reminds. “Where the filing of such statements is made in an election year, every political party and independent candidate shall be required to file with the Elections Commissions additional detailed supplementary statements of all funds received and expenditures made by them from the date of filing of the original statements to the date of the elections,” it states also.

“Any political party or independent candidate who ceases to function shall publish and submit a final financial statement to the Elections Commission.”

But at NEC’s weekly press briefing Wednesday, Cllr. Korkoya revealed that only nine political parties have so far declared their assets and awaiting proper scrutiny by the NEC.

“Parties are required to submit their audited accounts and declaration of assets. They are required to do so on September 1, 2017 according to Article 83 (d) of the constitution. Only nine parties have so far submitted these and the NEC will review them shortly,” he said.

Chairman Korkoya furthered that the Board of Commissioners will meet to take a decision on the political parties that have not met the legal deadline.

“So far we have received accounts from Grassroot Democratic Party of Liberia (GDPL), Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP), All Liberian Party (ALP), Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), People Unification Party (PUP), Unity Party (UP), Liberia Transformation Party (LTP), and Alternative National Congress (ANC),” he added.

The NEC’s boss reminded political parties in the country that in a campaign year, all assets, liabilities and income including donations shall declared in line with the law.

He referenced them to chapter seven of the election law, saying the law details what should be done regarding the declaration of assets. “The National Elections Commission will be using its power to audit accounts to ensure all political parties respect these rules. This is a key transparency measure for political parties and it is important that more efforts are made to submit these documents,” he indicated.

Cllr. Korkoya said transparency is not only special to the National Elections Commission (NEC). “It is also required and expected for political parties. This is one of the major legal provisions to guard the process,” he concluded.

In an interview with FPA Mr. Henry Flomo head of communication of the Commission said the NEC is confident that political parties and individuals would comply.

"We believe that they will comply with this constitutional provision and that was one of the issues we stressed in one of our meetings with political parties and institution," he said.

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