According to the Herald, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is unsure about the whereabouts of a large sum of money that was reimbursed to it by the Electoral Commission (EC) following the 2020 general election.
The EC reimbursed the NDC almost GH2.7 million as a refund of the filing costs paid by its 2020 presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama, and its parliamentary candidates ahead of the December 7, polls last year, but there is disagreement over how the money was spent.
The EC set the filing fee for presidential aspirants at GH100,000 and for parliamentary aspirants at GH10,000 ahead of the 2020 general election.
In a letter to the EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa, and the General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, in February last year, the NDC demanded an immediate return of the filing costs paid by its 2020 presidential candidate and 269 parliamentary candidates ahead of the elections.
In a letter dated February 9, 2021, the party invoked C.I. 127 regulations 46 (1) and 46 (3) and demanded that the funds be put into the NDC’s GCB Bank account.
According to the NDC General Secretary’s letter, the Functional Executive Committee (FEC) of the NDC made the decision to demand the reimbursement.
“The requirements for a refund or forfeiture of deposits made by presidential or parliamentary candidates are spelled out in Regulations 46 (1) and 46 (3) of C.I. 127. To be eligible for a refund, a presidential or parliamentary candidate must receive a minimum of 25% and 12.5 percent in a general election, respectively,” Mr. Asiedu Nketia stated.
“A candidate for presidential and parliamentary elections shall, at the time of nomination, deposit or cause to be deposited an amount of money determined by the EC,” according to C.I. 127 rule 8 (1b).
“Subject to regulation 13, a deposit made by a candidate under this Regulations shall, as soon as feasible after the results of an election are declared, be: a) returned to the candidate or the candidate’s personal representative, or b) forfeited to the state,” says Regulation 46 (1) of C.I 127.
The report has it that, the money was refunded to the party by the European Commission, but while some claim it has gone missing, others claim it was spent on party activities. However, the second group cannot produce invoices, payment vouchers, or receipts to prove the colossal sum was spent on those activities.
This has caused consternation and stress within the opposition party, with insiders lamenting the waste of finances at the headquarters, where large quantities of money are mostly unaccounted for by national officials.
According to reports, the majority of the party’s officials defiantly refuse to sign necessary documents indicating the amount of money paid to them. They also do not return the funds once the activities are completed.
The party is now experiencing financial difficulties, which has resulted in multiple postponements of its national delegates convention.
The opposition party had planned to hold a congress in 2021, however it was postponed.
It was rescheduled for the first quarter of this year, but there are no indications as to when that congress will take place now that March is over.