Veteran Journalist, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, believes the excessively high filing fees being charged Presidential and Parliamentary candidates by the Electoral Commission (EC) for the 2016 elections if maintained will sow seeds for corrupt activities by which ever party wins power.
He believes the politicians having spent such huge amount will definitely find an illegitimate way of getting back their monies from the state.
Presidential candidates are to pay Gh¢50, 000 as filing fee which is 500 per cent increment of the amount charged during the last election in 2012.
At an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting Thursday, the EC also pegged the nomination fees for Parliamentary candidates at Gh¢ 10,000 as against the Gh¢1,000 paid in the last elections. The new figure is a 1,000 per cent increment from the previous amount.
The Electoral Management Body has slated September 13 for both presidential and parliamentary candidates to pick nomination forms from the Electoral Commission. The forms are to be submitted between September 29 and 30, 2016.
Majority of the parties, especially the smaller ones have protested the figure, claiming it’s a ploy to disqualify them from contesting in the upcoming December 7 elections, but the EC has rejected that claim.
However, Kwesi Pratt has condemned the EC for their unreasonable move, describing it as unacceptable.
He wondered why the EC whose budget is fully taken care of by the tax payers money should set the filing fee so high to rake in some money.
“From what I know, the political parties pay the nomination fees of their candidates, only few candidates are able to pay for themselves. Can you imagine 275 constituencies, and you tell parties such as APC, PNC, CPP and the rest to pay GHC 10,000 per parliamentary candidate and also pay GHC 50,000 for Presidential. If a party spends such huge amount of money and wins power, don’t you think the politicians will recoup their investments…and how are they going to recoup this investments. Already, there’s a discussion calling on government to subsidize activities of political parties, we’re not done with that, then all of a sudden the EC slaps this amount on the parties. I don’t think that this is acceptable at all.”
He added: “Meanwhile, all the budget of the Electoral Commission is catered for with the tax payers money, not even a dime spent is raised by the EC itself, all they do is budgeted for and they receive the money. They even receive support from donors so what are they taking this monies for,” Kwesi Pratt quizzed.
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