EC asks anti-graft bodies to monitor campaign finances

Published On: November 11, 2017 02:59 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Nov 10: Concerned over the electioneering extravaganza and massive involvement of money, the Election Commission (EC) has urged corruption oversight bodies to keep close taps on campaign finances so that transparency could be maintained in campaign expenditures.

During consultations with the business community at the EC headquarters, Bahadur Bhawan, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav asked Nepal Rastra Bank, Department of Money Laundeirng and Inland Revenue Department to track unnecessary campaign finances. “Rumors are rife that campaign expenditures are exceeding the legal limits. It's a matter of serious concern. What are the sources of such funds? This should be monitored,” said CEC Yadav urging the state agencies to help conduct the elections in free, fair and credible manner.
CEC Yadav stressed the need for discouraging the burgeoning use of money during election period. “Parties and candidates should win hearts and minds of voters based on their political ideologies, principles and election manifestos,” he said. 

Stating that the election code has totally banned use of t-shirts with party symbols and other similar publicity materials, Yadav urged businessmen to stop manufacturing of such materials. 

As per election code of conduct a candidate contesting for parliament under the first-past-the-post system cannot spend more than Rs 2.5 million in poll campaign. Similarly, a candidate contesting provincial assembly elections under FPTP should limit their expenditure to Rs 1.5 million. Likewise, a PR candidate for parliament should limit such expenditure to Rs 200,000 and a candidate contesting for provincial assembly under the same category should not spend more than Rs 150,000. 

At the function, business leaders stressed the need for making banking channel mandatory for making donations to political campaigns. Following complaints of 'donation terror' from political parties the EC had asked the parties to ensure that all donations receipt have registered PAN numbers and the details are submitted to the election body.
But almost all the parties have failed to maintain records of election expenditures despite repeated requests from the election body. Few parties have collected funds through the banking channel but they never disclose the amount of money received and details of expenditure.
According to the EC, donations of over Rs 5,000 should be collected only through the banking channel.

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