As the deadline draws near, Chief Electoral Officer and Commissioner of the Solomon Islands Electoral Office (SIEO) made the third and final reminder to the 14 candidates who contested in the 2020 National By-Election to submit their statement of election expense accounts before the deadline, which is on the 23rd February 2021.
Chief Electoral Officer and Commissioner, Mrs. Jane Waetara said that this is a requirement under the electoral law (Section 69 of the Electoral Act 2018) that all candidates, successful and unsuccessful, must file their statement of account, 90 days after the official publication of the election results.
Mrs. Jane Waetara reveals that, despite calls been made reminding candidates of these legal obligations, most candidates are yet to submit their campaign expense reports to-date.
“Election results for the recent by-election were published on 25th November 2020 therefore the final day for the submission of candidates’ Statement of Account is Tuesday, 23 rd February 2021”, she said.
This 90-day period is a legal timeframe that even the commission has no power to extend.
Mrs. Waetara warns candidates not to take this lightly and to comply with the law whilst they still have 14 days to do so as noncompliance results in heavy penalties.
“Failure to complete and file a Statement of Account in the approved Form provided under Regulation 9A of the Electoral (Amendment) Regulations 2019, carries a penalty of $20,000- or 2-years imprisonment or both”, She emphasized.
“In addition, a $100 fine will also be imposed on a daily basis after the lapse of the due date 23rd February, on top of the above penalty, for candidates who failed to meet the deadline.”
This statement has to file using a prescribed approved form which can be obtained in both soft and hardcopy from the office of the Electoral Commission.