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Fundraising activities for some parties are in the grey area
It may be difficult to identify the source of funds - Saneem

Fundraising activities for some parties are in the grey area

It may be difficult to identify the source of funds - Saneem

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 16/09/2020
Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem

Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem says some of the political parties have wide-scale fundraising activities but some of the activities are in the grey area and it is difficult to identify the source of funds.

While the verification process continues for the financial disclosures for 2018, Saneem says some of these fundraising activies could be used for companies donating funds to parties that is not allowed under the law.

He says lawyer, Dorsami Naidu has made some comments in a letter to a newspaper today however the FEO needs clarity on who contributed funds to the parties.

Saneem says the list of people who made donations were not submitted to the Elections Office by the National Federation Party and Fiji Labour Party from 2015 however after the requests made by the FEO, the FLP has submitted the list while NFP is expected to provide an independent audit for 2018.

He says the other parties have submitted their donation lists.

Saneem says the Elections Office is expected to conclude the verification of accounts for the NFP this week, verification for FijiFirst will be done next week followed by SODELPA, Fiji Labour Party, Unity Fiji, HOPE and Freedom Alliance.

He says they will focus on the three parties that are in parliament and FLP as these are the only parties that have declared receiving donations and holding fundraising activities.

Saneem says the FEO will also have questions for the remaining parties as some of them had said that they received zero income.

Under the Political Parties Act, a party who receives funds from a foreign government, inter-governmental or NGO commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both.

No person shall, in any one year, contribute to a party or to an independent candidate for election to Parliament an amount exceeding $10,000 in cash.

Any person who contravenes this, commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both.

A party or an independent candidate for election to Parliament who receives an amount exceeding the amount specified shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both, and in addition to the penalty imposed by this Act, forfeit that amount to the State.

This shall not apply to any contribution or donation made by any founding member of the party as his or her contribution to the initial assets of the party within the first year of its existence.

Under the Act, it shall be unlawful for any party to accept any political donation or contribution unless the donation or contribution is from an individual.

The Act says that it shall be unlawful for any party to accept any donation or contribution from a company, a body corporate or any other entity.

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