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2023: Don’t Accept Donations Above N50m, INEC Warns Candidates

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Political parties and candidates participating in the 2023 general elections are not to contribute or accept donations above N50 million, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has ruled.

The electoral umpire stated this  in the guidelines for the conduct of political rallies, processions and campaigns, as well as finances and election expenses of political parties, candidates and aspirants for next year’s election.

 

According to the guidelines, “the maximum amount of money or other assets that an individual, a group of individuals or an entity can donate to a political party or aspirant for an election shall be N50 million.

 

“A political party shall not accept any monetary or other contribution which is more than N50,000,000 except it identifies and discloses the source of the contribution to the commission.

 

“Contribution to candidates by an individual or entity shall be from 150 days allowed for campaigns to election day. Contribution to aspirants by an individual or entity shall be from the date notice of the election is published to the conclusion of party primaries.”

 

The guideline explained further that, “election expenses of political party mean all expenses in cash or otherwise incurred by a political party or candidates as well as party primary expenses of aspirants from the date notice of election is published to the day of election only.

 

“They exclude expenses incurred before the publication of notice of election. Election expenses of off cycle or other elections shall relate to period between publication of notice for particular election by the Commission and date of election. The election expenses of a candidate shall not exceed the limits prescribed in the Electoral Act, 2022”, the guideline stated.

 

It also emphasised that the election expenses of a political party shall be in three parts; the management of aspirants and party primaries, management of candidates and conduct of elections and miscellaneous election expenses.

 

“The election expenses of a Political Party for management of Party Primaries shall not exceed two-third (2/3) of the limits prescribed for candidates expenses in the Electoral Act, 2022 for respective elective positions.

 

“The election expenses of a Political Party for conduct of elections shall not exceed two-third the limit of election expenses of each Candidate multiplied by the number of candidates the political party shall sponsor in a particular election for elective positions,” it clarified.

 

The guideline also noted that the miscellaneous election expenses of a political party shall include but not limited to; re-election cases against the party, post-election or election petitions and re-mobilisation of party members after elections.

 

“Every Political Party shall submit to the Commission, detailed annual statement of its assets and liabilities and analysis of its sources of funds and other assets, together with statement of its expenditure between 1st January and 30th March of the succeeding year in hard and soft copy”, it added

 

The Commission insisted that every political party shall notify it of and transfer to the commission any funds or other assets remitted or sent to a political party from outside Nigeria within 21 days of receipt, and where needed, the party shall provide such information as may be required by the electoral body.

 

For the submission of party election expenses report the guidelines requested that: “Every political party that participated in an election shall submit to the portal designated by the Commission an audited report of its election expenses within six (6) months after an election.

 

“The reporting period shall commence 360 days to, and including, the Election day. The report shall be signed by the Auditors of the Political Party and counter signed by the National Chairman of the political party supported by a sworn affidavit by the signatories as to the correctness of the content of the report.

 

“The report shall show the amount of money expended by or on behalf of the political party on election expenses, the items of the expenditure and commercial value of goods and services received for the purposes of election.

 

“Every political party shall publish the election expenses report it submitted to the commission in at least two national newspapers and on its website.”

 

With regards to submission of election contribution reports, INEC stated that: “Every political party sponsoring the election of a candidate shall submit to the portal designated by the Commission a report of the contributions made to it by individuals and entities within three (3) months after the announcement of the results of an election. The report shall indicate the names, addresses, occupation of donor(s) and the amount of money donated.”

 

It directed every party to ensure its candidates: “maintain a detailed record of all contributions as well as any other source(s) of funds, and the record shall include names, addresses, and occupation of the donor(s) and amount donated.

 

“Maintain proper books of account and records of all expenses incurred during a political campaign. Do not accept or keep in his or her possession any money anonymously donated or other contributions, gifts or property from any source whatsoever.

 

“Disclose to the Commission, records of all contributions and other sources of funds for their campaign, as well as records of expenditure in a prescribed format as may be issued by the Commission. Submit detailed audited returns of their campaign expenses to the Commission within six (6) months after an election.”

 

It said, the audited returns of campaign expenses submitted by a political party shall; indicate details of donations, other sources of funding, expenditure on goods, services and sundry expenses incurred for the purpose of an election.

 

They are to be submitted to the Commission in a separate audited return within six months after an election; signed by auditors of the party and counter signed by the chairman of; and supported by a sworn affidavit by the signatories as to the correctness of its contents.

 

The guidelines added that: “the Commission may remind Political Parties of their obligation to submit required reports to the Commission in accordance with the provision of Section 90(4) of the Electoral Act, 2022; and applicable sanction(s) for failure to comply as provided in Section 89(4) of the Electoral Act, 2022.”

 

In the guideline for the conduct of political rallies, processions and campaigns, INEC stated that the procedure to be followed which demanded that:

 

“A political party shall, for purpose of political rally or procession, issue in writing a notice to the Commissioner of Police of the State or the Federal Capital Territory indicating the exact venue and time of the rally or procession and pledging peaceful conduct and control against violence or public nuisance.

 

“Political parties shall transmit to the Commission, through the Electoral Officer at the Local Government Area and the Resident Electoral Commissioner at the State, via a designated portal and also in hard copy, details of the schedule of their political rallies and processions at least 10 days to the date of the political rally or procession. The notice shall be jointly signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary of the Political Party.”

 

The guidelines said where there is conflict in the date, venue or time of the activities of different parties, their representatives shall meet in the presence of the Commission and the Nigeria Police to resolve the issues amicably.

 

They also stated that: “Where the Parties are unable to resolve the conflict amicably or between themselves, the Commission shall request the Political Party that submitted its notice later in time to reschedule its campaign, meeting, rally, procession, congress, convention or other activities for effective monitoring.”

 

On the conduct not permissible during political rallies, INEC insisted that: “no person attending a political rally or procession shall be in possession of any offensive weapon, except a police officer or a member of a security agency authorised to carry arms and is specifically posted to be present at that political rally or procession.

 

“No political rally or procession shall hold in places designated as religious centres, police stations and public institutions. Political rallies or processions shall not involve the use of abusive language or any form of hate speech. Political rallies or processions shall not involve the use of physical force or coercion by organised groups or individuals.”

 

It explained that a political campaign is canvassing for votes by Political Parties and Candidates by way of processions, rallies, electronic, social and traditional or print media advertisements, posters, hand bills and house to house contact with voters, print and electronic or social media.

 

INEC said: “Political campaigns shall include, though not limited to, print and electronic media advertisement by public and private media organisations, internet advertising, house-to-house calls on voters, marches, gatherings, receptions, fund raising, courtesy calls, public displays of party flags, entertainment, posters, handbills or billboards in public places such as markets, schools, streets, highways.

 

“Air-display, audio visuals, tinted vehicles, use of public address system in vehicles, fences of aspirants, candidates, supporters, party officials, private houses, as well as internet and social media networks.”

 

The guidelines provided that political parties shall submit to the Commission, in soft copy through a designated portal and in hard copy, notification of the schedule of their campaigns, stating the date, time, venue, agenda and list of members of the organising committee.

 

Parties are also required to submit police approval within the jurisdiction of the campaigns, within a minimum period not later than 10 days to the commencement of their campaigns.

 

INEC said campaigns by political parties and their candidates shall be based on their constitution and manifestoes, and shall comply with the provisions of; regulations and guidelines for political parties 2022 issued by the Commission; code of conduct, regulations and guidelines that may be issued by the National Broadcasting Commission; and COVID-19 safety protocols and other public health regulations and measures.

 

It stated that: “The target audience of political campaign shall be registered voters. The programmes, policies and projects of political parties are offered to voters and achievements of programme where applicable as contained in the political party’s Constitution and Manifesto.”

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Court Restrains CBN From Extending Deadline On Use Of Old Naira Notes

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A federal capital territory (FCT) high court has compelled the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to go ahead with the full implementation of the naira redesign policy.

Delivering a ruling on Monday in a suit marked FCT/HC/CV/2234/2023, the court restrained the CBN from extending the deadline on the use of old naira notes.

The CBN, President Muhammadu Buhari, and several banks were included as defendants in the suit.

Eleojo Enenche, the judge of the FCT high court, ordered the CBN not to extend the deadline pending the determination of the suit.

“An order of interim injunction is hereby made restraining the defendants whether by themselves, staff, agents, officers, interfacing banks or whosoever not to suspend, stop, extend, vary or interfere with the extant termination date of use of the old N200, N500, and N1000 bank note being 10th day of February 2023, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice,” the court held.

The judge also made an order of interim injunction “directing and mandating the defendants whether by themselves, staff, agents, officers, interfacing banks or whosoever described to comply with, implement and give effect to the currency redesign and restructuring of the old N200, N500, and N1000 bank note on or before the last day of 10th of February, 2023, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice”.

The court further directed the bank heads, chief executive officers, managing directors, and/or alter egos “to forthwith show cause as to why they shall not be arrested and prosecuted for the economic and financial sabotage of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by their illegal act of hoarding, withholding, nor paying or disbursing the new N200, N500, and N1000 bank note, being the legal tender of the federal republic of Nigeria to their respective customers, despite supplies of each such currency note by the 2nd and 3rd defendants, thereby leading to the present scarcity of currency notes in circulation”.

The order will be for an initial period of seven days until the motion of notice is heard on February 14.

The plaintiffs are Action Alliance (AA), Action Peoples Party (APP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and National Rescue Movement (NRM).

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JUST IN: Court Jails Fidelity Bank MD, Onyeali-Ikpe, Bank’s Secretary

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A Chief Magistrate Court at Ogba, Lagos on Monday morning sentenced the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe to six weeks imprisonment over disobedience of a garnishee order of court restraining the bank from allowing a judgment debtor access to his account.

Joined with the Managing Director to serve the imprisonment is the Company Secretary of the bank, Ezinwa Unuigboje.

Magistrate Lateef Owolabi gave the sentence sequel to a garnishee order he gave on December 6, 2022 asking 16 banks not to allow a judgment debtor, Prince Enabulele Ozaze access to his bank accounts pending the payment of N2.8 million judgment debt in suit involving the sale of a Toyota Corolla car.

In the main suit, Magistrate Owolabi had given judgment on October 13, 2022 in favour of the plaintiff, Jibrin Ahmed who sued the defendant over the payment of N2.8 million he made to the defendant for the purchase of a Toyota Corolla car. Magistrate Owolabi in the judgment said that the claim before the court is summons used in action for debt or liquidated money demand with or without interest. Liquidated demand, according to him, is one ascertainable as a matter of arithmetic precision without further investigation.

He then said: “I have examined the whole process filed by the claimant and hold that the claimant is entitled to judgment not necessarily because the defendant is absent, but because the claimant has made a case worthy of being entitled to judgment. The totalities of evidence presented are relevant and reliable”.

There magistrate thereafter entered judgment against the defendant in the sum of N2.8 million which is due to the claimant over the transaction that took place in July 2022.

In order to reap the fruit of the judgment, the claimant’s lawyer, Alayo Akanbi filed a garnishe proceeding before the court and attached 17 banks, and asked the court to stop the banks from allowing the defendant to draw money from his accounts with them pending the liquidation of the debt. The garnishe order was granted on December 6, 2022.

However, on January 25, 2023, the claimant, now judgment creditor deposed to an affidavit before the court where he showed that the garnishe order have been flouted by Fidelity bank. He showed instances of how the judgment debtor had been withdrawing funds from his account to the extent that he had depleted the funds in his account with Fidelity bank. He claimed that the judgment debtor has N3, 165, 759.05k in his account with Fidelity bank as at January 12, 2023 when the garnishe order was served on the bank.

By January 15, three days after service, the judgment debtor had withdrawn N725,547.80k from the account. The following day, January 16, 2023, another N251,305.90 was transferred out of the bank. On January 17, the legal officer of the bank Obianuju Nwosu confirmed service on the bank as at December 22, 2022 and further apologized for the transactions on the account.

On January 18, 2023, the court ordered that ordered that the Managing Director, and Company Secretary to appear in person before the court to explain why they should not be committed to prison for allowing the judgment debtor to dissipate the funds in his account after the service of the garnishe order nisi.

At proceeding on Monday February 6, the Managing Director and Company were not in court as ordered. Lawyer to the judgment creditor told the court how the two had disobeyed the garnishe order of the court.

Magistrate Owolabi in his ruling sentenced the Managing Director and Company Secretary to six weeks imprisonment each. He further ordered Lagos State Commissioner of Police and any officer under his command to arrest the duo, bring them to court for onward transfer to the appropriate correctional center.

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JUST IN: EFCC Chairman, Bawa Sent To Prison For Disobeying Court Order

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The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has been committed to prison for disobeying court order.

The court also directed the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Baba Usman Alkali, to effect Bawa’s arrest and remand him in Kuje prison for the next 14 days until he purges himself of the contempt.

Justice R.O. Ayoola of the Kogi State High Court, in his judgement on Monday, granted the application for committal to prison of the EFCC chairman for disobeying a court ruling delivered on November 30, 2022, wherein the EFCC chairman was directed to produce the applicant in the case, Ali Bello.

Ali Bello had dragged Bawa to court for arresting and detaining him illegally, with the court ruling in his favour, only for the EFCC to arraign him for alleged money laundering three days after the ruling.

The EFCC’s applications for setting aside and stay of execution of the ruling were refused for want of merit.

The Court had, in Form 49, Order IX, Rule 13, marked: “HCL/697M/2022” and titled: “Notice to Show Cause Why Order of Committal Should not be Made,” asked the EFCC Chairman to appear before it on January 18, 2022 to explain why he should not be jailed for flouting the order given on December 12, 2022 in a case filed by Ali Bello against EFCC and Bawa, as the 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively.

The court ordered that EFCC and Bawa be served the motion of notice together with Form 49 by substituted means.

The court had declared the arrest and detention of the applicant in the face of a subsisting court order made by a court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest “or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested” as unlawful, unconstitutional, and in contravention of the personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

The court had also ordered the respondents to tender an apology to the applicant in a national newspaper and awarded N10 million compensation for him.

The Form 49, issued on December 15, 2022, and addressed to Bawa read, “Take notice that the Applicant will on the 18th day of January, 2023 at the hour of 9 o clock in the forenoon or so soon thereafter, apply to this Court for an order for your committal to prison for having disobeyed the order of this Court made on 12th day of December, 2022 that:

“That arrest and detention of the Applicant on the 29th November, 2022 by the 1st and 2nd Respondents in the face of a subsisting Court Order made by a Court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested is unlawful, unconstitutional and contravenes the Applicant’s right to personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

“Perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents, their agents, servants, privies, or however called from further arrest, detention, harassment and intimidation of the Applicant.

“An order directing the Respondents to tender an apology to the Applicant in any of the National Daily having nationwide coverage for the illegal detention and harassment of the Applicant.

“An Award of the sum of Ten Million Naira as general damages jointly and severally against the Respondents for the unlawful detention and harassment of the Applicant.”

This followed an application by Counsel to Ali Bello, S. A. Abass.

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