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Register or lose it

Felix Chaudhary
Monday, January 21, 2013

THE sale of assets from deregistered political parties will go to the government's Consolidated Fund.

This was revealed by the Attorney-General and Minister for Electoral Reform Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

In an interview, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this would only happen if existing political parties did not apply to be registered within the 28-day time-frame which began on Friday.

Under the conditions of the Political Parties Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosure Decree 2013 which came into effect on Friday, this would mean that the deregistered party would have to be wound up and the assets of the party in question would become State property.

"If they do not apply within the given time, then they would be deemed deregistered," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said. "Given that they are deregistered because they do not comply, then it is necessary then to wind up the assets of those political parties.

"The net assets of these political parties, after winding up, will then go to the State as it will be impossible to distribute the net assets to each and every person who has contributed to the party funds," he said.

The A-G explained that there was nothing sinister or peculiar with the process.

"It is well established in common law that where a beneficiary to an estate or to funds cannot be ascertained, then such funds vest in the State. This is common law.

"Obviously, if a political party is deregistered due to non-compliance and if the registrar winds up the assets less liabilities of a political party then those funds would go to the consolidated fund of government. It does not go to any one particular person," he explained.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said in the event a party was informed that it did not meet the requirements and could face being deregistered, there was an appeals process in place to address the issue.

"There is a process in place to ensure that all political parties have a chance to be registered under the new rules, which have only been put in place to ensure that people get fair representation and are not discriminated against in any way.

"In the event that the registrar says a particular party does not comply with the rules and cannot be registered and the party feels otherwise, then the matter can be taken to the High Court," the A-G said.

As of today, existing political parties have 24 days to re-register under the new rules to be in contention for the 2014 general elections.





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