Vote buying: CISLAC urges anti-graft agencies to apprehend masterminds

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), has advocated for the enforcement of laws governing the financing of political parties in the country.

The Executive Director of the Centre, Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, disclosed this on Thursday, during the working group meeting on the Strengthening Accountability Networks Among Civil Society (SANCUS) project held in Keffi, Nasarawa State.

The project, which is the first working group meeting of the centre was implemented by the Transparency International Secretariat (TIS) through its chapters in 21 countries, supported by the European Commission.

Rafsanjani noted that anti-grafts agencies have more work to do by not just apprehending vote buyers but also the masterminds of such illegal act.

Taking the recent Osun election as a case study where he commended efforts of the anti-graft commission, he, however, call upon relevant agencies to be activated in ensuring political parties involved in electoral offences are not spared.

He said, “We need to see prosecutions and conviction of those offenders as well as the politicians sending these individuals on these errands. The funds use to buy votes are moved through our financial institutions, and it is important for the anti-graft agencies to target the “big fishes”.

The Centre noted that alongside other civil society organizations, it had advocated and marched for the passage and assent of the electoral legal framework, and it is important for the society to enlighten the working group on the provisions so that it can all collectively utilize it from an informed position.

Rafsanjani, in his address was bothered on the crisis at the leadership of the country which has resulted to robbery, bandits, vote-buying, amongst others.

“Corruption is not just a threat but an enabler of other illicit conducts. Consequently, the motivation for corruption is more widespread during the period leading to elections. Therefore, all stakeholders must be alert to this and collaborate in ways that will mitigate these illicit flows,” he said.

However, he urged stakeholders to monitor compliance, monitor campaign, political spendings, follow up money in politics, press for the fulfillment of anti-corruption pledges, educate the public about political integrity, expose unexpected wealth of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), and mobilize critical mass of people to reject dirty money politics.

The SANCUS project has the aim to improve the democratic accountability of public institutions globally by empowering CSOs to demand for systemic change to address accountability and anti-corruption deficits.