Lagos - Some registered political parties have criticised the continued audit of their accounts by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in spite of its withdrawal of grants to them.
The 2006 Electoral Act empowers INEC to monitor the finances of political parties and audit them so as to know how the funds are spent.
The National Chairman of the African Renaissance Party (ARP),Yahaya Ndu, described as strange the way INEC continued to audit political party accounts.
`` INEC long stopped giving grants to political parties, yet it continues to audit the parties accounts every year,’’ he said.
Ndu alleged that INEC gave grants in ``multiple millions of naira’’ to the Interparty Advisory Council (IPAC) saying yet it (INEC) never audited IPAC.
Also commenting, the Deputy National Chairman of the United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP), Winston Odumu-Ojobi, also queried why INEC still sent auditors to audit political parties account when they last received grants in 2009.
``Political parties, including UNPP, have not received grants from INEC since 2009 and what we received was N6 million and yet they still send auditors.
``I don’t know why they still send auditors when they don’t give grant anymore,’’ he said.
The party chief claimed that INEC gave some money for election in Anambra, which according to him was called ``Electoral grant’’ and described the action as a gross anomaly.
He also said that INEC was funding IPAC which was an advisory body made up of political parties.
"INEC is funding IPAC to cause division among parties. IPAC is an advisory body made up of all the political parties including PDP. It’s not a political party; that for me is a wrong move, it should not be so,’’ Odomu-Ojobi said.
In his reaction, the National Chairman of the Progressive Action Council (PAC), Charles Nwodo, also said his party received grants last in 2009.
``INEC gave us grant last in 2009, and it was N6 million for a year yet they still continue to come to audit.
`` They are even auditing political parties now in spite of the fact that they didn’t give us grants in the past three to four years,’’ he said.
However, Adekunle Ogunmola, the commission’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos State, said it was not out of place to audit the accounts of political parties every year.
He also said that the commission under the Chairmanship of Attahiru Jega was not familiar with giving grants to political parties.
``There is nothing like any grant to political parties; that has been stopped a long time ago. Giving of grants is alien to this new commission.
``Political parties are supposed to finance themselves, but the function of INEC with regards to the Electoral Act is to monitor the finances, to audit them so that we will know how they have been able to raise money within their parties and how such funds are spent,’’ the REC said.
Ogunmola said that it was the ploy of some individuals and groups in the past to just form a party believing that they would be financed.
He recalled the first meeting he held with political party leaders in Lagos, it was surprising to find out that some of them attended the meeting so that when grants was given they will also benefit.
``The first meeting we held with political party leaders in Lagos, instead of them listening to what we had for them, all some of them were interested in was when they were going to receive grants from Abuja,’’ he said.
Commenting on the funding of IPAC, Ogunmola said he did not think that the commission was giving grants to the council.