NEC Warns Against Use of State Funds
…To Run Any individual’s Campaign during Electoral process
Posted June 15, 2004
In the wake of claims in some quarters that some political aspirants have already begun receiving and spending state funds on political campaign activities for the pending elections, the National Elections Commission(NEC) says it will not hesitate to institute punitive action against anyone or group found engaged in such acts; as Patrick K. Wrokpoh reports.
NEC Chairperson Cllr. Frances Johnson-Morris said, obviously it will be difficult for the commission to really determine as to which candidate or group will be using state resources to fund their campaign activities for the elections, so it will highly depend on the press and the public in general to provide the necessary evidences against doers of such to the Commission.
The NEC Chairman made these assertion on Monday at the commission’s Sinkor 16th Street offices while responding to a question from journalists relative to alleged reports that some of those who have so far declared their intention to contest the up coming elections were receiving money from higher-ups in government to contest the elections.
Addressing the concerns of the journalists who also quizzed her on the issue as to what will the commission do if the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the NTGL interfered with the process based on their interests since they are still executives of political parties that will be contesting in the elections, the NEC Chairman said,"well, if you say they have interest, provide us with the evidence. But, I can assure you that the commission will take action against anyone or group who tries to interfere with the process and those found to be using state funds."
She said one good thing about the up-coming elections is that the incumbent head of state will not be participating in the process as previously held elections in the country have been. She said, this will prove a level of credibility for the process.
Expounding further on the concerns of the journalists, the NEC Co-Chairman James Fromayan said it would not be an easy thing to do for the head of state to take government resources to finance a particular candidate in the up-coming elections since indeed the current composition of the government is made up of all parties to the Liberian conflict including stake-holders.
He added, "but you the members of the press have to be vigilant. And so, we want to use this opportunity to challenge you to dig out the facts."
In a related development, the NEC’s Chairman has reiterated her earlier statement that there will be no census before the elections are held. She said it will not be possible due to time constraints and the lack of resources to finance the process, stressing that according to a document the commission has just received from the United Nations, the process will be mainly financed by the NTGL while the world body will provide technical assistance.
Commenting on her recent visit to Abuja, Nigeria, the NEC chairman said during a meeting with the ECOWAS Secretariat in that country, it was resolved that the UN will play a coordinate role on the process while the AU, ECOWAS and other international bodies will play a monitoring role.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Morris has disclosed that the NTGL has made available US$125,000 to the NEC as its initial contribution to its work.
She said the portion of the amount was used to finance the commission’s recent meeting with political parties while some of it was used to purchase fuel for the commission’s generator and carry out some repair work on the commission offices.