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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

25 PNG Political Parties’ Election Expenses Unreported
74 MPs will also be fined for not submitting expenditures

By Jeffrey Elapa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 14, 2012) – Twenty-nine political parties and 74 members of parliament will be paying a total of more than K293,000 [US$139,966] as default penalties for failing to submit their 2012 Papua New Guinea election expenses.

The three-month grace period for the remittance of the expenditure report by the MPs and the parties, as required under the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates, lapsed last Thursday.

Registrar of Political Parties Dr. Alphonse Gelu said that by yesterday, 25 of 42 parties had failed to provide their returns. They each face a penalty of K5,000 [US$2,388], with an additional K50 [US$23.88] for each day’s lapse since last Thursday.

Gelu said out of the 111 MPs, 37 members had adhered to the requirements while the other 74 had yet to submit their expenses.

Each defaulting MP will be fined K2,000 [US$955], with an additional K20 [US$9.55] for each day defaulted after the deadline.

Gelu said four parties out of the 46 registered had failed to contest the 2012 election and they would also be fined K5,000 each and recommended for deregistration.

"It is unacceptable for parties to register and not contest. This is unfair to others and those interested parties," he said.

Gelu said it was unacceptable that MPs who made the laws could not abide by them.

"It is disappointing. They are leaders and we have respect for them but they were given enough time to remit their election expenses but have failed and disobeyed the law.

"They make the law and they need to adhere to the laws. We have a problem in this country where the good laws they make are never followed.

"My office is to comply with the laws and, since the time has lapsed, I will start to fine them, although the penalty is too lenient," Gelu said.

The registrar said it was now time to change the culture of mentality of disrespect and disobedience and that his office would not hesitate to discipline the culprits and impose penalties on defaulters as required by law.

He said penalties and others issues in the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates would be considered in the revised laws which were ready but needed to be taken through a process before they were tabled in parliament.

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