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Big NFP Account Questions

The Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem extends its appreciation to the NFP for co-operating with the Registrar and also for providing all the documents as well as explanations were required. The verification exercise has allowed the Registrar to vet all documents that are accessible to the public for accuracy, integrity and transparency.
26 Sep 2020 09:32
Big NFP Account Questions
Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem. Photo: Fijian Elections Office

The Fijian Elections Office (FEO) has completed the verification of the disclosures submitted by the National Federation Party [NFP] for the rest of the years 2015, 2016 (except the receipts as we are yet to receive them), 2017 and 2019. The 2018 Accounts have already been sent to NFP for a proper Audit Report.

The Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem extends its appreciation to the NFP for co-operating with the Registrar and also for providing all the documents as well as explanations were required. The verification exercise has allowed the Registrar to vet all documents that are accessible to the public for accuracy, integrity and transparency.

For the purposes of clarity, the NFP is required under section 23 of the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding & Disclosures) Act 2013 [Act] as follows:

23.—(1) A political party shall, within 30 days of the end of its financial year, provide to the Registrar the following information in writing—

(a) the sources of its funds stating—

(i) the amount of money received from its members and supporters;

and

(ii) the amount and sources of the donations given to the party;

(b) the income and expenditure of the political party; and (c) the assets and liabilities of the political party.

The NFP had not submitted the above requirements until it was directed by the Registrar on 19 August 2020. The NFP complied with the directive and provided all the disclosures on 26 August 2020.

On completion of the verification exercise, the FEO identified various discrepancies in the disclosures for the individual years. However, it was found that there were some discrepancies that were common for all the accounts.

 

Listed below are the particulars of discrepancies for your noting:

  1. a) The amount and sources of donations Lists are not true and proper reflection of the donations received by the party;
  2. b) The party neglected and/or failed to issue receipts for all the monies it received;
  3. c) The party failed to reconcile the deposits in the bank accounts;
  4. d) The party conducted fundraising but failed to account for all the proceeds

accurately in its books of accounts; and

  1. e) The party opened a bank account titled ‘Relief and Welfare Fund’ but used the same for general operations of the Party.

Donations to this account were not properly recorded in the list of donations submitted to the Registrar.

For the purposes of compliance, the Registrar has provided the full breakdown to the NFP to assist the party in rectifying the defects.

In light of the above discrepancies, the Registrar finds that the NFP’s List of Party Donations for the years 2015-2019 are not true and accurate reflection of the donations and monies received by the Party and this constitutes a breach of the Act.

Under section 19 of the Act, the Registrar may de-register a Political Party that has contravened the provisions of the Act.

The fact that there are discrepancies in the accounts for the last 5 years is a matter of great concern.

Whilst the law allows the Registrar to initiate Deregistration process for breaches of the Act by Political Parties, the Registrar has opted not to do so yet.

Instead, the Registrar will allow the NFP to rectify the errors and furnish the Registrar with disclosures that accurately reflect the requirements under section 23 of the Act.

Since the Registrar’s team has already identified the particulars of the discrepancies, the NFP is hereby granted 21 days to rectify the disclosures and re-submit the same to the Registrar failing which the Registrar will have no choice but to invoke section 19 of the Act and the Party may be suspended as well.

The Registrar further advises that once the revised disclosures are received, the Registrar shall publish the same in the Gazette as required under section 23(3).

Source: Fijian Elections Office

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