The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political parties against receiving funds from “anonymous sources” for the 2023 elections.
Festus Okoye, INEC spokesperson, said this on Friday during an interview with Channels Television.
Ahead of the 2023 elections, there have been a series of debates on the legality of crowdfunding, including diaspora funding, to raise money for campaigns for political parties and their candidates.
Asked how INEC will monitor crowdfunding for campaign organisations, Okoye said political parties are not to spend funds from anonymous sources.
“The law is very clear. The law says that no political party is obligated to receive funds from sources it cannot testify to — anonymous sources,” he said.
“And the law is very clear that when people donate funds to you (referring to political parties), you should get their names, know their addresses, and so on.
“If you receive funds from a source you cannot identify, you should turn in such funds to the INEC. The law is also clear that every registered political party in Nigeria must and shall maintain proper books of accounts where it will record the sources of funds, money received, expenditure it has made, and the place where it received such funds from.
“If a political party receives funds that it cannot account for or does not know its source, that particular political party ought to report to INEC that it received such funds.”
Section 225 (3) of the constitution states that: “No political party shall — hold or possess any funds or other assets outside Nigeria; or be entitled to retain any funds or assets remitted or sent to it from outside Nigeria.”
Speaking on the legal provisions of campaign funding, Okoye said section 225 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) does not allow political parties to receive funds from outside the country.
“The guiding electoral legal framework for this election remains the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act of 2022 , the regulations and guidelines rolled out by INEC,” Okoye said.
“If you look at section 225 of the constitution, it makes it very clear that no registered political party in Nigeria shall possess any fund outside the country.
“In other words, a political party cannot open an account and have money remitted into that particular account outside the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Secondly, it makes it clear that no political party shall, under any circumstance, retain any funds remitted to it from outside the country and if such funds are remitted to the political parties from outside the country that political party has constitutional and legal obligation to turn in such funds to INEC within a period of 21 days from the date of receipt of such funds.
“That is the law and the constitutional stipulation, and the political parties are aware of this stipulation.
“As far as section 225 of the 1999 constitution is concerned, it did not make any distinction. It says you should not receive funds from outside.
“If you receive funds from Niger, Chad and Benin Republic, it goes with the same issue because it seems to me that when people are talking about not receiving funds, they are just looking at funds received from places like the US, Germany and France and the rest of them. But the law says you should not receive funds from outside the country.”