PNG Parties Face Fines For Unreported Elections Returns
By Isaac Nicholas
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 14, 2012) – The Registry of Political Parties is now finalizing details to impose penalties for political parties and members of Parliament in Papua New Guinea that have failed to lodge their returns after the 2012 elections.
The Registrar of Political Parties and Candidates Dr. Alphonse Gelu sounded the warning yesterday when he revealed that political parties and MPs have failed to meet the requirements of section 88 and 89 of the Organic Law.
Dr. Gelu issued the warning after only 71 Members of Parliament out of the total of 111 and 21 out of the registered parties 46 lodged their returns after the 2012 polls.
Under the law, parties that failed to submit their returns are liable to a fine of K5,000 [US$2,395] each, with an additional K50 [US$23] for each day that lapses since Thursday November 8. Each MP that failed will be fined K2,000 [US$958] each and K20 [US$9.58] for each day that lapses.
Four parties that have registered and failed to run for elections will be fined K5,000 and recommended for deregistration. Members of Parliament, by political parties, included the ruling People’s National Congress with 21 submitting returns while six failed to do so; Triumph Heritage Empowerment (3/8); PNG Party (3/5); United Resources Party (6/2)’ People’s Progress Party (4/2);, National Alliance (3/5); People’s Party (6/0); People’s United Assembly (1/3); People’s Democratic Movement (3/0); Social Democratic Party (0/2); Melanesian Liberal Party (2/0); Coalition for Reform (2/0);
People’s Movement for Change (2/0); PNG Country Party (2/0); New Generation Party (2/0); Pangu Pati (0/1); United Party (0/1); Our Development Party (1/0); Indigenous People’s Party (0/1); Stars Alliance (1/0); PNG Constitutional Democratic Party (1/0); PNG National Party (0/1); and Independents (7/4).
A total of 71 MPs lodged their returns while 40 have failed to lodge theirs. Only eight political parties, including PDM, People’s Party, MLP, CRP, PMC, ODP. SAP and CDP have met the requirements.
"Our lawyers are making necessary arrangements including documentations for court proceedings to impose those penalties that are covered under the Organic Law," Dr. Gelu said. "Once these administrative issues are sorted out, the penalties will be imposed soon after the New Year in 2013."
According to Dr. Gelu this will be the first time that such an action will be taken against the MPs and political parties for non-compliance.
"It will also serve as a warning that they must comply with the laws at all times, thus institutionalizing a new culture of compliance and close adherence to the important democratic principle of maintenance of the Rule of Law," he said.
"In general, it is pleasing to see that more than half of our MPs have submitted their returns but the same cannot be said of the political parties.
"The person responsible for lodging returns for his political party will be held responsible if he fails to meet this important requirement under the Organic Law," Dr. Gelu said.
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