Mesn has warned the Electoral Commission (EC) to tread carefully on revelations that the commission is still holding money for some candidates who got five percent of votes in the 2009 general elections.
EC director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa confirmed in an interview last week that the commission is still keeping money for 19 candidates who have not come forward to claim their refunds as required when a candidate gets five percent of the total votes cast in a constituency.
Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) publicity secretary Steve Duwa described the revelation as unfortunate and one that can erode public trust and confidence in the way the EC manages its affairs.
Said Duwa: â€œMEC [the Malawi Electoral Commission] has not done well on issues of money. Remember, it was closed down because of issues of money? What all this means is that financial controls are weak and we have no trust that the money is there.â€
Duwa said it is important that as the country approaches the next elections, the EC should be seen to be transparent and accountable in the way it manages funds.
He called on the EC to trace the concerned candidates and refund the money.
Mwafulirwa said cheques for the remaining 19 candidates were already prepared.
Said Mwafulirwa: â€œCandidates are told when submitting the nomination forms that the fees are refundable if they get five percent of the votes cast.
â€œWhen EC announces election results, it expects all candidates who qualify to come and get their refunds or write the commission detailing their bank details.â€
But Mwafulirwa said there is no way the money can be misappropriated.
Each parliamentary candidate during an election pays a K100 000 nomination fee and that means the EC is keeping almost K1.9 million as unclaimed money.