The Malta Independent on Sunday

Public to have full access to political parties’ accounts by May

- David Lindsay

After decades of keeping their finances closely guarded secrets, come next May the country’s two leading political parties, and all the others for that matter, will be constraine­d to reveal the fine details of their finances for full public scrutiny.

On Friday, the government published a 37-page legal notice stipulatin­g, in minute detail, the details that parties will have to fill out in their end-ofyear accounts.

At the end of the fiscal year those accounts will be presented to the Electoral Commission, which will, in turn, make them available for public inspection and have them posted on the Electoral Commission’s website.

When that fiscal year ends, however, has been debatable. According to legislatio­n passed unanimousl­y by Parliament earlier this year, the treasurer of a political party will have four months from the end of the fiscal year to present its audited accounts to the Electoral Commission. Those accounts are also meant to include accounts related to election campaigns.

Within one month, the Commission is to upload the accounts to its website for public consumptio­n. This means that, theoretica­lly, the public at large will have access to political parties’ detailed accounts by May of next year.

On its part, the Nationalis­t Party has already committed itself to publishing its accounts in April of next year, meaning that the public will have access to its accounts by May. But while the Labour Party has so far not said ex- actly when it will be publishing its accounts, its financial year has in recent years wrapped up in December, meaning that it too should deliver its accounts to the Electoral Commission by April and that they will be made public by the Commission by May.

The accounts will have to be presented as per a form published on Friday by way of the legal notice. The accounts will be sectioned off into: the administra­tor’s report, statement of administra­tor’s responsibi­lities, an independen­t party auditor’s report, an income and ex- pense account, a statement of the party’s financial position, statement of changes in equity, and statement of cash flows.

The form can be downloaded at:

http://justiceser­vices.gov.mt/DownloadDo­cument.aspx?app=lp &itemid=27846&l=1

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