Monday, 25 December 2017

Electoral Offenders To Pay 50M Fine Or Face 10year Jail Term

House of Reps has proposed a fine of N500, 000 to N50m or a prison term of up to 10 years for electoral offences. A convicted offender may also pay both fine and be sentenced to a prison term. The bill also state that offenders will be tried not in conventional courts but by a Commission/Electoral Tribunal to be established specifically for the purpose of handling election-related offences in the country.

In the same vein, the maximum expenses to be incurred by a presidential candidate for electioneering shall not exceed N1bn. Governors shall spend not more than N200m while senators shall spend N40m and members of the House of Representatives, N20m. Donations to candidates shall not exceed N1m. Violators, in the case of presidential election, shall face a fine of N1m or imprisonment of 12 months or both. For governors, the fine is N800,000 or a prison term of nine months or both. In the case of senatorial election, the fine for a violator is N600,000 or a prison term of six months or both. House of Representatives members, who breach the law, shall pay a fine of N500,000 or face a prison term of five months or both.

These provisions are contained in two harmonised bills – ‘A Bill  for an Act to Establish the Electoral Offences Tribunal for the Purpose of Trying Electoral Offences’; and ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigerian Electoral Offences Commission Charged with the Responsibility of Prohibition and Prosecution of Electoral Offences’ – now before the House. The House Committee on Electoral Matters had worked on the bills and laid the report before the House for consideration.

According to Punch, it was gathered on Sunday that the report was scheduled for consideration on December 21, but had to be stood down till January 16, 2018 when lawmakers would have reconvened after the Christmas and New Year festivities. Under the proposed law, unauthorized printing, distribution, importation or destruction of ballot papers and result sheets attract a jail term of 10 years. The offender has an option of a fine of N50m.


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