The People Democratic Party’s fundraiser in which N21 billion was raised for their presidential candidate, Goodluck Jonathan went against the electoral law in three ways.
Section 91(9) of the Electoral Act reads, “An individual or other entity shall not donate more than N1,000,000 (one million naira) to any candidate.”
Sub-section 10 of the same section adds that a presidential candidate “who knowingly acts in contravention of this section commits an offence and on conviction is liable to a maximum fine of N1m or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.”
Section 91(2) of the same Act states that, “The maximum election expenses to be incurred by a candidate at a presidential election shall be N1bn.”
INEC explains that it cannot prosecute the leading party because law enforcement agencies have not investigated the allegations. According to the Commission, it only has the jurisdiction to prosecute any party, person or company that violates any part of the country’s Electoral Act, after security agencies must have carried out an investigation and presented concrete evidence. This is coming in after the party made public the donations.
INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, made the disclosure while reacting to widespread call for the electoral commission to investigate the campaign fundraising, which was far above the legal limit of
Osaze-Uzzi said: “Before you prosecute, won’t you investigate? Before you prosecute somebody, the person has to be investigated. If a person shoots another man on the street, the police cannot just charge him to court. They will have to follow a process.”
“Don’t forget that INEC has no powers to investigate. But it has powers to prosecute. It is the security agencies that investigate. We don’t have investigative powers; but we have prosecutorial powers. If they have investigated and found out that somebody was wrong, we will prosecute that person. It is after investigation that we can prosecute. And there must be an evidence that a crime has been committed,” Osaze-Uzzi added.
The director refused to comment on if whether INEC has made any inquiries to law enforcement agencies.