Former Leader and Chairman of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), now 2018 Presidential aspirant, John Oponjo Benjamin, has appealed, in a written letter, dated 30th August 2016, to the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), to exercise every authority within the jurisdiction of its powers in ensuring that the current SLPP Executive led by Chief Somano Kapen submits the SLPP’s audited financial report.
In the letter which he addressed to the Chairman, PPRC, JOB, as Mr. Benjamin is commonly called, recounted that during his tenure as SLPP Chairman and Leader, the PPRC always made sure that SLPP was always compliant with said requirement, “up to and including 2012 financial year.”
JOB also floated in the letter two key issues about which he is particularly concerned: “There has been no submission of audited financial report from our party to PPRC since 2013 financial year to date; the other requirement that the Presidential candidate of the last Presidential election (2012 election in this case) submits their report of all income and expenditure is yet to be done.”
JOB further pointed out the need for the Party and its future flag bearer to be protected from any adverse consequence of “such breach or breaches.”
He further penned: “I would highly appreciate if your Commission will confirm, or otherwise ensure now, that our party (SLPP) is up to date with the submission of its audited financial reports and Income and Expenditure statement by the 2012 Presidential candidate before the current National Executive leaves office.”
The 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone states that (section 35(3)): “A statement of the sources of income and the audited accounts of a political party, together with a statement of its assets and liabilities, shall be submitted annually to the political Parties Registration Commission but no such account shall be audited by a member of the political party whose account is submitted.”
The Political parties Act section (20(3)) further notes that: “There shall be submitted by every political party to the commission within three months after the end of every year a declaration of its income, assets and liabilities together with its audited accounts.”
The Act further specifies that the declarations (reports must be supported by the national treasurer and the national or general Secretary of the political party the PPRC will in accordance with the Act publish the reports by the Government Notice within 30 days of the receipt of the reports.
All efforts so far by Awareness Times Newspaper to get to Chief Somano Kapen to voice his position on the transparency of his administration has so far proven fruitless. However, Awareness Times Newspaper is sure to bring his side as soon as he talks to us.
Meanwhile, in a meeting held at the Political Parties and Registration Commission’s Headquarters in Freetown, Chairman of the PPRC Hon. Justice M.E. Tolla Thompson on Wednesday 31st August 2016, cautioned Political Parties and media practitioners to ensure that the media is used to promote the ideals of Political Parties, promote democracy, good governance, and peace in Sierra Leone.
Hon Justice Thompson revealed that the Commission is concerned about the negative use of the media by politicians especially the use of radio. Politics, he said, should be war of words and not “by fighting or the use of obscenity on the media.”