The public will now have access to financial information pertaining to politicians and political parties as per the requirements of the Political Party (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosure) Decree 2013.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted that this decree requires a full disclosure of the assets, income, liabilities, donations and other financial information of both the political parties and the politicians.
“The political parties will need to have the accounts audited at the end of the financial year and within three months present their audited accounts,” the minister said, adding that politicians and officials of political parties will need to make similar disclosures.
Not only that, the decree sets out the type of funding that is acceptable such as donation of no more than $10,000 from individuals or membership fees, voluntary contributions, grants from a lawful source.
And it prohibits funding from companies, foreign governments, inter-governmental and/or non-governmental organisations to curtail undue influence on the political parties.
“There have been a number of incidents where companies have had a sway over political parties especially when they come into power and these parties feel beholden to them as well,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
He said the decree also prohibits companies from providing goods or services such as picking up the tabs of a political party during its campaigns.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the decree drew its inspiration from the existing law, the Kenyan and New South Wales (Australian) model as well as the Canadian model.
“ Now the New South Wales model has brought in the provisions about trade union movements not being allowed to give funds to political parties because its members pay their fees not to fund the parties but to the union and we have adopted that here,” he explained.
The parties will also need to declare their source of funding.
The registrar of the parties, which in this instance will be the permanent secretary for Justice, will be advertising the name of the applicants and the parties.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said if the registrar will make an assessment and if the registrar decides not to register a political party, the party can appeal in the High Court and its decision will be binding on all parties.
Government printer is in the process of printing copies of this decree.