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Prosecute election candidates who failed to file returns, says NIA

Published:Thursday | April 14, 2016 | 9:59 AM

National Integrity Action (NIA) is calling for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to institute proceedings against candidates in the February 25 General Election who have not yet filed their election spending returns.

On Tuesday, the Electoral Commission of Jamaica said it had submitted the names of 41 candidates to the DPP for possible action after they failed to make the filings by April 6.

The NIA says failure to prosecute will encourage candidates to believe they are above the law and may result in continued breaches.

The NIA is also calling for the government to amend the Representation of the People Act to strengthen the penalties for those convicted of breaching this Section of the law.

Under the law, a candidate who fails to file a return can be fined between $20,000 and $80,000 and the offender can also be imprisoned for up to three years.

Meanwhile, the NIA says it acknowledges that the 41 people who were delinquent is an improvement in comparison to the December 2011 General Election in which more than half the candidates failed to file their returns in the specified time.

It’s also an improvement on the 2007 General Election in which 74 candidates were delinquent in filing.