ACC calls for more transparency in political party’s finances

Members of Anti Corruption Commission of Maldives (ACC) | Photo: Majlis

Male’, Maldives – The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has advised for policies to be changed so as to improve financial transparency of political party’s.

Government and companies with government shares, foreigners and anonymous donors will not be able to donate large amounts while maintaining anonymity to political parties if laws are changed according to ACC’s suggestion.

After investigations into financial transparency of various political party’s, ACC has compiled a report stating that while the law on political parties state that part are allowed to receive aid and donations for running of the party’s, it does not specify a limit for such donations.

ACC pointed out that if political parties can receive donations without a set limit, competitiveness between party’s would decrease, and that this has the potential to lead to corruption.

ACC has proposed 3 main changes to the law on political parties, with a proposal to limit the amount of financing that party members, other donors, business interactions and debts can provide.

In addition, foreign individuals and institutions revealing there names can donate within a set limit according to ACC suggestions, however if these people choose to donate, they cannot do so anonymously.

The ACC proposes that the law on political party must explicitly state that anonymous donations from any individual or party are not allowed.

The report also noted that ACC received 37 complaints that government institutes and companies were spending for the campaigns of political candidates. They added that while the general election regulations state that candidates must not accept financial aid from government companies, it is not outlawed by the constitution for parties to receive money through the same method which is then used by candidates.

To prevent this, ACC has proposed that policies must be amended so government companies cannot donate to political parties. Furthermore, the methods of obtaining loans mentioned in the 35th amendment of the law on political parties, including the details of individuals responsible for the debts must be stated in a policy on giving government services and items to parties and candidates, adding that permission must be obtained in writing.

A robust policy on expenditures of political party’s must be made, as the current absence of one has resulted in uncertainty surrounding expenditures, said ACC.

Consequently, ACC noted that a the law must state what expenses party’s should be able to make, and that like candidates, a limit must be set to how much expenses party’s are allowed to make, and have proposed that an easy procdeure to submit complaints on party fiances must be establsihed.

They also stated that party’s do not submit financial reports on time, and that transparency on financial matters is inadequate, and have proposed to mandate that political candidates and high ranking officials of party’s must submit financial statements that should be easily publicized.