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Solomon Islands

In law
19
In practice
11

The Solomon Islands do not have systems of direct or indirect public funding. Non-financial state resources often featured in the 2010 campaign. The legal framework does not include many restrictions on contributions. Candidate spending is limited, but parties are able to spend as much as they like during campaigns. Both parties and candidates, in law, must file financial reports after the campaign season, and parties must also submit annual reports. In practice, few parties or candidates actually file the required information. The data that is submitted is concerned solely with expenditures. No contribution data is available. Further, the public cannot, in practice, any political finance information. The independent political activities of third party actors are totally unregulated. The Political Parties Commission (PPC), newly established in 2014, has the power to oversee the finances of political parties, but not independent candidates who are not party members. The PPC's members are not appointed on merit, nor are they fully guaranteed independence. During the most recent elections, the Electoral Commission was still in charge of regulating political finance -- its ability to conduct oversight was highly limited, and it did not successfully impose any sanctions after the last campaign.

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    Direct and Indirect Public Funding

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    21
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      Direct Public Funding
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        1
        Score
        NO
        In law, there is direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        There is no direct public funding for election expenses.

        There is public funding available to political parties as an administration grant, described in Article 58 of the Political Parties Integrity Act. However, these grants are not intended as election funding, para (6) states that "Funds payable to a political party shall be used for the political party's administrative cost...". Article 58 of the Political Parties Integrity Act states: "(1) A political party that contests an election is entitled to claim from the Commission, after all its members have taken their oaths on the floor of Parliament, one or both of the following - (a) a temporary special measures grant of $10,000 payable annually for every woman elected into Parliament; and (b) an administration grant of $20,000 for each Member of Parliament of the political party, payable annually to the political party after submission of its annual financial report under section 61.

        There is no such funding as above for candidates, but only parties.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. The fact that the public funding is processed and forwarded to the party after the election increases the likelihood of it not being used for electoral campaigning.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is direct public funding for both political parties and individual candidates to campaign. A 100 also applies where only one of the two actors can be elected and, therefore, only one is entitled to direct public funding.

        A MODERATE score is earned where per law only one of the two actors (either political parties or individual candidates) is allocated direct public funding to campaign, even though both can be elected.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Political Parties Integrity Act of 2014, Part 10 - Public Funding and Financial Reporting by Political Parties http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

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        2
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        NO
        In law, there is a transparent and equitable mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        There is no direct public funding for election expenses.

        There is public funding available to political parties as an administration grant, described in Article 58 of the Political Parties Integrity Act. However, these grants are not intended as election funding. Paragraph (6) states that "Funds payable to a political party shall be used for the political party's administrative cost...". The same article also states: "(1) A political party that contests an election is entitled to claim from the Commission, after all its members have taken their oaths on the floor of Parliament, one or both of the following - (a) a temporary special measures grant of $10,000 payable annually for every woman elected into Parliament; and (b) an administration grant of $20,000 for each Member of Parliament of the political party, payable annually to the political party after submission of its annual financial report under section 61. (2) A political party making a claim under subsection (1) may apply to the Commission in the prescribed form - (a) within 90 days after the date of the election of the Prime Minister in accordance with Schedule 2 of the Constitution; and (b) within 30 days after an independent Member of Parliament joins the political party.

        There is no such funding as above for candidates, but only parties.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) direct public funding for political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where direct public funding for political party and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Political Parties Integrity Act of 2014, Part 10 - Public Funding and Financial Reporting by Political Parties http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

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        3
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        50
        In practice, to what extent is the mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns transparent, equitable and consistently applied?More about indicator

        Since there was no law allowing public funding for election campaigns nor any such funding provided, there has never been a mechanism in place to determine public funding for electoral campaigns. The funding grant listed in #1 and #2 above have never been distributed since the law regarding this was passed in 2014. Parties are now being registered according to the act and funds have not been distributed. This will be done after election this year.

        This indicator is thus not yet applicable.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. The funding mechanism in the new law, the PPIA, is very simple, thus increasing the likelihood that it will be applied in a fairly equitable and transparent fashion.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaigns allocations are always defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaign allocations are usually defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are usually applied but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political campaign allocations are rarely or never defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, or 2) the defined eligibility criteria are rarely applied.

        Sources

        Face to face discussion with Mr. Polican Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, 11th August 2014

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        50
        In practice, to what extent does the entity in charge of public funding make disbursement information publicly available?More about indicator

        Since there was no law allowing public funding, there has never been any disbursement of public funds and hence there is no publicity of such nonexistent information. The funds listed in #1 and #2 have not been distributed and therefore there has not been any report regarding the funds. Political parties are now in the process of registration according to the PPI law. Any such report will be expected after registration and national election some time in November this year. It is yet to be announced by Governor General (GG).

        This indicator is thus not yet applicable.

        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. There is nothing in the PPI Act that compels the Registrar to make this information publicly available,

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) complete information on the disbursements is published less than a month after disbursement, and 2) the information is available on the Internet for free or in hard copy at photocopying cost.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the information published is incomplete or published more than two months after disbursement, or 2) obtaining the information costs more than photocopying.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) disbursement information is published more than four months after disbursement, or 2) no disbursement information is published or released upon request.

        Sources

        Face to face discussion with Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, 11th August 2014

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      Indirect Public Funding
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        5
        Score
        NO
        In law, use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates is prohibited.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is an explicit ban on the use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A YES is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions, which are accessible to all actors equally.

        A MODERATE score is earned where an explicit ban exists but it only applies to one of the two actors, even though both can be elected. A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        A NO score is also earned where the law exists, but allows discretionary exceptions.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        25
        In practice, to what extent are no state resources used in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        No evidence of use of state resources in the past (2010) election. Discussion with ALAC they explained that they did not receive any formal complaints regarding use of state resourses during the campaign by individuals and parties. However, ALAC explained that there it has been a common talk about individuals using government vehicles, boats, etc. for campaign purposes.

        According to Ms. Joy Abia, Legal officer of SITI that they are aware of use of state properties, vehicles and boats etc. but was not investigated because it was not officially reported to them to conduct formal investigation. For example in recent election in Rennell and Bellona Constituency, the only vehicle on the island was owned by the provincial government. Two former public servants who became candidates have used it to travel to villages on the island for their campaigns.

        On the use of CDF fund, current members of parliament purchase goods and supply these to potential voters. For example, voters were distributed with Outboard Motors and canoes in the constituencies, some were given corrugated roofing irons, some given solar lights. This is happening in all the constituencies. In the recent election, a candidate in Marovo Constituency paid sea fair tickets to his voters to travel from home village to Honiara and back, supplied bags of rice to voters. Others were promised to receive theirs after election if they vote for him.

        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. The prevailing political model in Solomon Islands is that practically all incumbent MPs use state resources to assist their re-election campaigns, especially the CDF funds from Taiwan (as noted by the reviewer). Accordingly, all non-incumbent candidates are disadvantaged through lack of access to state resources. State resources are not channelled through particular parties, but rather to all current MPs.

        For further information about the electioneering use of CDF (Constituency Development) funds by SI MPs see Tony Hughes at DevPolicy Blog where Hughes says, "The CDF Act will give statutory endorsement to a system of publicly-funded political patronage, in which MPs try to entrench themselves in power by buying votes and rewarding supporters." Further state resources are channelled to MPs to assist with their re-election, such as the pre-election increase of MPs "termination payments" to SBD$400,000 per MP. Ashley Wickham writes about the clientilist trap that rules Solomon Islands voting, and the ongoing need for MPs to direct state resources to about 30% (or lower) of their electorate, whilst ignoring national issues.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there is no evidence of authorities using state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A 100 is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions and are equally accessible to all actors.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) documented evidence indicates occasional use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates, or 2) clearly defined exceptions are not equally accessible to all actors.

        A 0 score is earned where documented evidence indicates regular use of state resources in favor of or against certain political parties and individual candidates.

        Sources

        Face to face communication with Chief Electoral Officer Mr. Policap Haununu, 11th August 2014;

        Face to face communication with Ms. Joy Abia, legal officer of Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) of Transparency Solomon Islands

        Mr. Mirenda Choko, Campaign Manager for Snyder Rini Campaign Team, September 2014

        Reviewer sources: Tony Hughes, "Against public objections, Solomons MPs give themselves bigger slush funds", DevPolicy Blog, April 10, 2013, http://devpolicy.org/against-public-objections-solomons-mps-give-themselves-bigger-slush-funds-20130410-2/

        Ashley Wickham, "The $20 Million Dollar Question", The Solomon Times, Oct 23, 2014, http://www.solomontimes.com/news/the-20-million-dollar-question/8291

        Ashley Wickham, "Visible and invisible hands: developing the Solomon Islands economy", DevPolicy Blog, April 17, 2013. http://devpolicy.org/visible-and-invisible-hands-developing-the-solomon-islands-economy-20130417/

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        NO
        In law, political parties and individual candidates have free or subsidized access to equitable air time for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        There are no government subsidies in the air time campaign by both individuals and political parties. Individual candidates and political parties must meet their own cost for airtime.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. The issue of airtime on broadcast media is not so relevant in Solomon Islands elections compared to more industrialized countries, because: 1. there is no coherent 'government' or 'opposition' to monopolize airtime; 2. constituencies are locally-based and won based on local dynamics; 3. Most voters (except in urban Honiara) live a subsistence life and do not regularly and consistently access and engage with modern media in a way that addresses their local political dynamics.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Face to face communication with Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014.

        Similar response was raised by Head newly formed Political Party Integrity Commission, August 2014.

        Reviewer sources: "Audience Market Research in Solomon Islands", Prepared for SOLMAS - Solomon Islands Media Assistance Scheme, May 2010. https://dfat.gov.au/foi/downloads/solmas-report.pdf

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is free or subsidized access to air time provided in a transparent, equitable way to political parties and individual candidates for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Since there was no law allowing free or subsidize access to air time, there was no practice regarding transparent and equitable way provided for political parties and individual candidates in this regard. Thus, this indicator is not directly applicable.

        All air time used for purposes of campaigns by individuals and parties has been met through their own resources. Allocation of air time is entirely up to the only national broadcasting service in the country, the SIBC. SIBC does not provide coverage for all candidates. Only those who requested were given times to use the radio. The amount provided depends on how much each candidate can pay according to hourly or minute rate charged by SIBC.

        Media coverage was not fully utilized because not many people in the villages listen to radio. On the TV, less than 20% watch TV only in Honiara and two other towns in Gizo and Auki.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is always provided in a transparent and equitable way, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is usually provided in a transparent and equitable way, but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are not always applied.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) there's rarely free or subsidized access to air time for political campaign, and 2) access exists but is not provided in a transparent, equitable way.

        Sources

        Face to face discussion with Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014.

        Philip Manakako, Research & Communication Officer, ALAC, Transparency Solomon Islands, August 2014.

        The names of anonymous sources are known to Global Integrity and Global Integrity has agreed not to disclose them.

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    Contribution and Expenditure Restrictions

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      General Rules on Electoral Campaign Contributions
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        9
        Score
        NO
        In law, cash contributions are banned.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where cash contributions are banned and all financial contributions must be made via the banking system.

        A MODERATE score is earned where cash contributions are allowed up to a maximum limit, regardless of the limit.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Face to face communication with Chief Electoral Officer Mr. Policap Haununu; Head of Newly formed Political Party Integrity Commission, August 2014.

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        10
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        MODERATE
        In law, there is a ban on anonymous contributions.More about indicator

        There is no law explicitly banning anonymous contributions for either parties or candidates. However, the law demands declaration by political parties amount of contributions and the sources of contributions annually in the parties' annual financial report to the state. There are no such requirement for candidates themselves.

        In section 59(1) of the PPIA 2014 state that political parties are required to submit an election report that lists all sources of their income. The 59: "(1) A political party shall, within 90 days after the close of the polling in an election, lodge with the Commission in the prescribed form a financial statement of donations received, including their sources, and election expenses. (2) For the purpose of subsection (1), the final statement of the political party must also include the donations received, their sources and election expenses by the political party for each candidate."

        Under NPEPA 2010, there was no prescribed form for candidates to submit report. In the PPIA 2014 however it does refer to a prescribe form for candidate and party to report. Such form is under construction with the PPI commission office, hence not yet available.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. There is nothing in law that expressly bans anonymous donations. But as the researcher notes, under s.59 (1) the identities of all donors to parties must be reported to the PPIC. S.59(1) states, “A political party shall, within 90 days after the close of polling in an election, lodge with the Commission in the prescribed form a financial statement of donations received, including their sources, and election expenses." S.59 (2) requires parties to do the same for donations they receive for candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where the law stipulates that anonymous contributions are banned.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the ban exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where small anonymous donations are allowed up to a maximum threshold equal to or less than the equivalent to US$300.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Integrity Act of 2014, section 59(1) http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010, http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf or http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/pacific/SB/Solomon%20Islands%20-%20National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20Act%20(Consolidated).doc/at_download/file

        Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014; Head of PPIA, August 2014

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        MODERATE
        In law, in-kind donations to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        There is no law requiring candidates to declare in-kind contributions received for their election campaigns.

        However, the Political Parties Integrity Act of 2014 does define donations to include in-kind contributions, and mandates the reporting of all received donations.

        In section 59(1) of the PPIA 2014 state that political parties are required to submit an election report that lists the sources of their income. The 59: "(1) A political party shall, within 90 days after the close of the polling in an election, lodge with the Commission in the prescribed form a financial statement of donations received, including their sources, and election expenses. (2) For the purpose of subsection (1), the final statement of the political party must also include the donations received, their sources and election expenses by the political party for each candidate."

        Section 2 notes that: ""donations" includes- (a) monies, gifts, goods and services paid or rendered for the benefit of the political party; (b) discounts given on goods or services; (c) monies paid in excess of market value for services provided by a political party; (d) credit offered at terms more favorable than normal commercial terms and conditions prevailing at the time; and (e) any other property (or its value) donated to a political party.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. As the researcher notes, the PPI Act compels political parties to report in-kind contributions to the Commission, but not individual candidates. S.59 (2) compels parties to report their contribution to individual candidates, but appears silent in respect of the contributions of others to candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all in-kind donations must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is also earned if the requirement to report such information exists, but applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Integrity Act of 2014, section 2, 59(1) http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

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        12
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        NO
        In law, loans to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        There is no such law and no one has reported an instance in which any party received loans.

        Section 2 of the PPIA does require that "(d) credit offered at terms more favorable than normal commercial terms and conditions prevailing at the time" be included in disclosed donations. However, there is no specific provision mandating that all loans be disclosed.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all loans must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is earned where loans must be reported, but the requirement applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014; Head of PPIA, August 2014

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      Limits on Contributions and Expenditures during Electoral Campaign Periods
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        13
        Score
        NO
        In law, contributions from individuals are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        There is no law limiting contributions from any individuals, organization(s), institutions both locally and internationally.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) individuals may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where individuals are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014; Head of PPIA, August 2014

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        Score
        NO
        In law, contributions from corporations are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        There is no law limiting contributions from any individuals, organization(s), institutions both locally and internationally.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) corporations may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount or ban exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where corporations are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014; Head of PPIA, August 2014

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        15
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        NO
        In law, contributions from foreign sources are banned.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to receive contributions (financial or in-kind) from foreign sources.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the ban exists but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates), or 2) contributions from foreign sources are allowed to a maximum amount.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014; Head of PPIA, August 2014

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        NO
        In law, contributions from third-party actors (unions, foundations, think tanks, political action committees, etc.) are limited to a maximum amount or banned.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law, or 2) are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the maximum amount or ban exists only for the majority of third-party actors, but not all, or 2) the maximum amount or ban exists, but applies only to contributions for either political parties or individual candidates.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists

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        17
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        MODERATE
        In law, election campaign spending by political parties and individual candidates is limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        The Electoral Provision Act 2010 stipulates that each individual candidate can only spend up to SBD50,000 (currently 6,900 USD) in their election campaign.

        Section 45 (2): "If any expenses referred to in subsection (1) amount, in the case of any individual candidate to more than fifty thousand dollars, that candidate shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding three thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both such fine and such imprisonment"

        On the other hand, there is no such limit for political parties, meaning they can spend unlimited amount of money.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to spend more than a certain amount in a political campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the maximum amount exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010, Sect 41 (1&2), 45 http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf

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        18
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        Open Question: Do the national laws regulating political finance also apply to sub-national units? If not, to what extent do sub-national units have laws regulating political finance?More about indicator

        These national laws are not directly applied to sub-regional law because they their laws covering election procedures. The national electoral act and the PPIA is only specific to the national election of the fifty (50) parliamentarians. It was revealed that they do not directly affect the provincial election and the Honiara City Council Elections.

        Under the provincial government act, the way all provincial election is conducted is based on the provincial government act. In the same way, the Honiara City council election is also specific to Honiara city council. Since there is no other city councils in any other provinces in the country, this act has only been applicable to Honiara city. The political finance in sub-regional units are not expected to spend huge amount of money as their political campaign areas are limited to ward boundaries The ward boundaries are the 4 level political jurisdiction in the country. And because they are expected small, they will not need huge money to cover.

        These ward elections are slowly becoming like constituency election campaigns and there is a growing need to consider similar arrangements like the national level.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the applicability of national political finance regulations at the sub-national level, being sure to answer: 1) whether national laws are applicable to sub-national campaigns; 2) if not, to what extent do sub-national units have similar laws regulating political finance; and 3) whether there are any reports of problems arising from gaps in this framework.

        Sources

        Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014;

        Mr. Stanly Bick Pirione, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Provincial Government, August 2014;

        Mr. Charles Keli, Town Clerk, Honiara City Council, August 2014.

        The Provincial Government Act of 1997. http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/1997/The%20Provincial%20Government%20Act%201997.pdf

        Honiara City Act of 1999. http://www.clgfpacific.org/images/campaign/54/file/Solomon%20Islands%20Honiara%20City%20Act.pdf

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        19
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        Open Question: What are the predominant sources of funding for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The predominant funding source of electoral campaign comes from individual savings by individual candidates, secondly they come from fund raising activities by political parties before election supported by business houses. Individual candidates use money from their own savings, or contribution from friends, locally and overseas and support from political parties and business houses.

        Political parties provide some funds to individual candidate running under them. They raise funds through fund raising activities, and business houses. Additionally, the sitting members of parliament receives constituency funds and other government benefits in the name of development. Through these funds they are in the upper hand to fund their electoral campaigns compared to non sitting members. This has created unhappiness amongst new candidates and led to accusations of using constituency money in their election campaigns.


        Peer reviewer comment: I partly agree. It is true that the predominant funding for each election for current MPs is public resources, nominally available for 'constituency development' with very little in the way of accountability. For non-incumbent contesting candidates they draw primarily on their own private funds. Political parties in previous elections are ephemeral, and / or based around individuals. Business houses channel funding through individuals and parties for election campaigns. Political parties are not based on social class or ethnicity, but usually on a charismatic personality, often backed by a businessperson who stays 'behind-the-scene'.

        For further information about the CDF and for further detail regarding the funding of campaigns, see sources.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the important sources of funding for electoral campaigns, being sure to answer: 1) where does the preponderance of funding come from - public, individual, corporate, or other; 2) to what extent do individual candidates self-finance; and 3) do political parties have other methods of generating campaign funds, such as owning their own businesses or trusts.

        Sources

        Mr. George Atkin, Deputy Secretary, People Alliance Party (PAP), August 2014

        Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014

        Reviewer's sources: Tony Hughes, "Against public objections, Solomons MPs give themselves bigger slush funds", April 10, 2013, http://devpolicy.org/against-public-objections-solomons-mps-give-themselves-bigger-slush-funds-20130410-2/. Dr Terence Wood "Understanding Electoral Politics in Solomon Islands" (still in draft) and Dr Jon Fraenkel 2008, p.68. Fraenkel, "Party loyalties and the number of voters in Solomon Islands", November 15, 2014, http://devpolicy.org/party-loyalties-and-the-number-of-voters-in-solomon-islands-the-november-19th-election-and-its-aftermath-20141115/#comment-420867.

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        20
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        Open Question: Have there been documented instances of violations of contribution or expenditure limits or any of the laws mentioned above (Section 2)?More about indicator

        1) There was very few of the newly elected candidates that have submitted financial reports back to the electoral commission. According to Mr. Haununu, in the last election in 2010, only 3 winning candidate submitted report to the electoral office out of the 50 members of the house. This is a clear breach of the law section 45 (1) of National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act Consolidated 2010 which states "Each candidate shall submit to the Returning Officer within one month of the declaration of the result of the election a statement of account, specifying all expenses incurred by him in his election campaign. But none have been penalized on this, nor have any media or civil society groups reported this.

        2) All reports received are all within the legal expenditure amount of SBD50,000 (USD 6705). However, there is common knowledge of overspending above 50,000. For example several candidate in the recent election hired inter island ferry boats to bring voters from Honiara to respective constituencies. Daily hiring rates according to Rex Fera, a ship owner and operator revealed his passenger boat daily hire is $20,000 Solomon Islands dollars (USD 2682) per day and average days travel is 2.5 days. So here already the legal maximum is already over plus the constituency travel campaigning, supply of projects in the village, handing out money is simply more than legal amount.

        According to Mr. Musu Kevu, a former Chief Electoral officer, now the Director of Electoral office and Civil Registration in the Ministry of Home Affairs said "Because there is no mechanism put in place to verify the over spending, they cannot verify the amount submitted in the report, but obviously they spend above the legal amount.

        3) All reports provided revealed personal savings as a source of funding.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) violation of contribution limits, 2) violation of expenditure limits, and 3) financial contributions that circumvent the regulatory framework. The objective of this question is to learn more about the local context, so please explain the cases in as much detail as relevant.

        Sources

        Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014

        Philip Manakako, Research & Communication Officer, ALAC, Transparency Solomon Islands, August 2014

        Mr. Musu Kevu, Director, Ministry of Home affairs, September 2014.

        Rex Fera, Managing Director, Mafaita Shipping Company, September 2014

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    Reporting and Public Disclosure

    More about category
    composite
    10
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      Reporting Requirements to the Oversight Entity
      More about category
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        21
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates report itemized contributions and expenditures both during and outside electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Political parties are required to report itemized contributions and expenditures following election cycles and on an annual basis. However, individual candidates are only required to report their expenditures following elections.

        In section 59(1), 60 and 61 of the PPIA 2014 state that political parties are required to submit financial report and annual audited report to the commission.

        59: "(1) A political party shall, within 90 days after the close of the polling in an election, lodge with the Commission in the prescribed form a financial statement of donations received, including their sources, and election expenses. (2) For the purpose of subsection (1), the final statement of the political party must also include the donations received, their sources and election expenses by the political party for each candidate."

        60: "(1) A political party shall, in each calendar year, lodge with the Commission quarterly returns in the prescribed form, setting out any donations received by or on behalf of the political party from any source, other than monies paid to the political party under section 58(1) [public funding]. "(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to membership fees, subscriptions, donations or contributions of less than $1,000 (136 USD), unless the total fees, subscriptions, donations or contribution collected in a quarter exceeds $10,000 (1365 USD)."

        61: "(1) A political party shall lodge with the Commission before 31 March each year, beginning in the year ending 2016, an audited annual financial report."

        Section 45 of the Electoral Act states: "1) Each candidate shall submit to the Returning Officer within one month of the declaration of the result of the election a statement of account, specifying all expenses incurred by him in his election campaign. (2) If any expenses referred to in subsection (1) amount, in the case of any individual candidate to more than fifty thousand dollars (6815 USD), that candidate shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding three thousand dollars (408 USD) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both such fine and such imprisonment."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates are required to report itemized contributions and expenditures to the oversight authority, both during and outside electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the requirement applies for itemized contributions, but not for itemized expenditures, or 2) it applies only during the electoral campaign but not outside it. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement exists, but it only applies to one actor (whether political parties and individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Integrity Act of 2014, section 59(1), 60 and 61 http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010, section 45(1) http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf or http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/pacific/SB/Solomon%20Islands%20-%20National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20Act%20(Consolidated).doc/at_download/file

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        22
        Score
        NO
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a monthly basis during the electoral campaign.More about indicator

        The law only requires candidates to report 90 days after the conclusion of elections as stated in National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act Consolidated 2010: "Each candidate shall submit to the Returning Officer within one month of the declaration of the result of the election a statement of account, specifying all expenses incurred by him in his election campaign". There is no requirement of reporting on their donations received.

        In section 59(1) of the PPIA 2014 state that political parties are required to submit financial reports to the commission following an election: "(1) A political party shall, within 90 days after the close of the polling in an election, lodge with the Commission in the prescribed form a financial statement of donations received, including their sources, and election expenses. (2) For the purpose of subsection (1), the final statement of the political party must also include the donations received, their sources and election expenses by the political party for each candidate."

        The law does not specifically say the official period of campaign. It does state, however, that the campaign period is at least 42 days long, as elections cannot be held "earlier than forty-two days after the publication of" an election notice by the Governor General (NPEP Act 2010, section 24). So the campaign period cannot be less than 42 days, but there is no legal maximum length. This means that the reporting frequency within the electoral campaign cannot be calculated.

        According to Albert Kabui, Assistant Registrant of PPI Commission said because there is no specific mention of the official campaign period, any one can conduct a campaign for how long they wish until midnight before the election day. Similar sentiments were expressed by Musu Kevu but further stated that on the election day candidate are not allowed to campaign within 100 meters distance from the polling station.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report monthly their financial information to the oversight authority during the electoral campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a quarterly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Integrity Act of 2014, section 59(1), 60 and 61 http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010, section 45(1) http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf or http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/pacific/SB/Solomon%20Islands%20-%20National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20Act%20(Consolidated).doc/at_download/file

        Mr. Albert Kabui, Assistant Registrar, PPI Commission.

        Mr. Musu Kevu, Director of Electoral unit and Civil Registration, MHA, September 2014.

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        23
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a quarterly basis outside of electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Political Party Integrity Act: 60: "(1) A political party shall, in each calendar year, lodge with the Commission quarterly returns in the prescribed form, setting out any donations received by or on behalf of the political party from any source, other than monies paid to the political party under section 58(1) [public funding]. "(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to membership fees, subscriptions, donations or contributions of less than $1,000 (136 USD), unless the total fees, subscriptions, donations or contribution collected in a quarter exceeds $10,000 (1365 USD)."

        61: "(1) A political party shall lodge with the Commission before 31 March each year, beginning in the year ending 2016, an audited annual financial report."

        There is no law requiring individual candidates to submit any report except the single post election expense report noted in section 45 of the Electoral Act.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report quarterly their financial information to the oversight authority outside of electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a yearly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Integrity Act of 2014, sections 60 and 61 http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010, section 45(1) http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf or http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/pacific/SB/Solomon%20Islands%20-%20National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20Act%20(Consolidated).doc/at_download/file

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        24
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do political parties and individual candidates report itemized financial information monthly?More about indicator

        According to Chief Electoral Officer Mr. Policap Haununu. During the last national election in 2010, only 3 winning candidates submitted their financial report to the returning officer within 30 days after the conclusion of the election, as required under section 45 (1) of Electoral Provisions Act of 2010.

        The three reports submitted were the only reports received from candidates. There were no other reports submitted, nor did the electoral office follow up to collect the other reports. They were not penalized for not following up.

        According to Musu Kevu, the reports severely lack good information, they can be in a form of one page letter to summary of expenditure without any supporting receipts or documents. All they contain is a list of expenses, their amounts, the name of the candidate, and the constituency in which they run.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates report on their financial information monthly, and 2) the reports include both itemized contributions and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the reports are occasionally general rather than itemized or don't contain all accounts, or 2) the reporting frequency is quarterly.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates rarely or never file reports, 2) the reports are filed but are rarely or never itemized or refer only to either contributions or expenditures, or 3) the reporting frequency is less than quarterly.

        Sources

        Mr. Polican Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, Electoral Office, August 2014

        Mr. Musu Kevu, Director, Ministry of Home affairs, September 2014

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010, section 45(1) http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf or http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/pacific/SB/Solomon%20Islands%20-%20National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20Act%20(Consolidated).doc/at_download/file

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        25
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do financial reports by political parties and individual candidates include all types of contributions?More about indicator

        Individual reports submitted after the close of the election did contain financial details of individuals and sources of funding. Before the recent passage of PPIA, only individual candidates were required to report expenses under the NPEPA, thus these requirements refer to individual candidates, and does not include parties.

        As noted in #24, only 3 winning candidates actually submitted these reports in the most recent (2010) election. According to Musu Kevu, the reports severely lack good information, they can be in a form of one page letter to summary of expenditure without any supporting receipts or documents. All what they contain is a list of expenses their amounts, name of the candidate and what constituency. There was no information submitted on the sources of funding.

        A new quarterly Political Party reporting requirement came into force recently after legislation of the PPIA 2014, and therefore no such practice regarding this for parties yet exists. The PPIA was passed in May but no reports have been submitted yet because there are no political parties in place. Political parties are now in the process of registration. There were no registered parties in the past.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) reports include an itemized list of all contributions indicating their type (in-kind, cash where allowed, etc.) and amount (estimated value for in-kind contributions), and 2) contain donors' names and addresses (or other personal identifier).

        A 50 score is earned where only one of the two conditions listed in the 100 criteria is met.

        A 0 score is earned where neither condition is met.

        Sources

        Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014

        Calvin Ziru, Registrar, PPI Commission. August 2014.

        Mr. Musu Kevu, Director, Ministry of Home affairs, September 2014

        Albert Kabui, Assistant Registrar, PPI Commission. September 2014

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      Availability of Electoral Campaigns' Financial Information to the Public
      More about category
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        26
        Score
        NO
        In law, financial information from political parties and individual candidates must be available to the public.More about indicator

        There is no specific law requiring publication of individual and political party financial reports except section 62 (3) state "On receiving the auditor's report in relation to a political party, the Commission must send a copy to the Auditor General, and may only consider the audited report after the Auditor General has certified acceptance."

        According to Albert Kabui of the PPI Commission, the reports will be published in the PPI Commission website when they come in and if any one wants to view them in the office, they will be asked to pay a search fee of 50 Solomon islands dollars (equivalent US7).


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. It is correct that if the Commission publishes these reports, it is of the Commission's own volition and not by law. To the contrary, s.63 of the PPI Act states that unauthorised disclosure is an offence under the Act, under conditions prescribed in s.63 (1) (a) and (b).

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where in law financial information of political parties and individual candidates must be made available to the public, whether online or digitally within two days of request.

        A MODERATE score is earned where financial information must be made available to the public, but no requirement exists regarding cost, format or number of days within which it must be made available.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Integrity Act of 2014, section 62 http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

        Mr. Polican Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014

        Albert Kabui, Assistant Registrar, PPI Commission, September 2014

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        27
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent can citizens easily access the financial information of all political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        All reports submitted have never been made public nor does the public request to access them. According to the Chief Electoral Officer, when asked if he has in his office files recently submitted reports from individual candidates, that information was received by the returning officer who never sent the reports to electoral office.

        So the public has never had access to the documents.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online, 2) it can be obtained digitally within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily digital or in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014

        Mr. Musu Kevu, Director, Ministry of Home affairs, September 2014

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        28
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent is financial information published in a standardized format?More about indicator

        There has never been any financial information published at all, as noted in #27. As such , no such information is available to the public in a standardized format.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where financial information for all political parties and individual candidates is available to the public in a standardized format.

        A 50 score is earned where only part of the information is published in a standardized format. A 50 score is also earned where the information is standardized, but it doesn't cover all political parties and individual candidates.

        A 0 score is earned where financial information is not available in a standardized format.

        Sources

        Mr. Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, Electoral Office, August 2014

        Mr. Musu Kevu, Director, Ministry of Home affairs, September 2014

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        29
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do mainstream journalism media outlets use political finance data in their reporting?More about indicator

        No media outlet in the Solomon Islands has ever used political finance data in its reporting. They collect their own data.

        They collect financial data from rural informants only. In South Guadalcanal for example, the current MP distributed projects to village people. He also paid hard cash money to individual voters. Attached is a list of names and amounts that were paid to voters before the November 2014 elections. Many similar cases exist. This information is collected by the media.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three independent mainstream journalism media outlets have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their reporting.

        A 50 score is earned where one independent mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        A 0 score is earned where no mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        Sources

        Interview with Ofani Eremae, Editor Solomon Star, September 2014

        Interview with Mr. Edward Kaipua, News Reporter, Island Sun News Paper, September 2014.

        Interview with Mrs. Sulian Rangi, Voter for West Honiara, September 2014.

        Amounts for Disbursal at the Kobuale Polling Station during the November 2014 Elections https://www.dropbox.com/s/4hwxnrf7dazfxw7/%2329%20KOBUALE%20POLLING%20STATION.doc?dl=0

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        30
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws?More about indicator

        Very few of the newly elected candidates that have submitted financial reports back to the electoral commission. According to Mr. Haununu, in the last election in 2010, only 3 winning candidates submitted reports to the electoral office (out of the 50 members). This is a clear breach of the law section 45 (1) of National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act Consolidated 2010 which states "Each candidate shall submit to the Returning Officer within one month of the declaration of the result of the election a statement of account, specifying all expenses incurred by him in his election campaign. But none have been penalized on this, nor have any media or civil society groups reported this.

        As noted in #20, all reports received are all within the legal expenditure amount of SBD50,000 (USD 6705). However, there is common knowledge of overspending above 50,000. For example several candidate in the recent election hired inter island ferry boats to bring voters from Honiara to respective constituencies. Daily hiring rates according to Rex Fera, a ship owner and operator revealed his passenger boat daily hire is $20,000 Solomon Islands dollars (USD 2682) per day and average days travel is 2.5 days. So here already the legal maximum is already over plus the constituency travel campaigning, supply of projects in the village, handing out money is simply more than legal amount.

        According to Mr. Musu Kevu, a former Chief Electoral officer, now the Director of Electoral office and Cavil Registration in the Ministry of Home Affairs said "Because there is no mechanism put in place to verify the over spending, they cannot verify the amount submitted in the report, but obviously they spend above the legal amount.

        There have been also been numerous reports on abuse of political powers especially in the use of Constituency Development Funds (CDF) This is an annual allocation of government funds to each of the 50 constituencies in the country. The fund in many instances used for political gain in the constituencies, it was used to lure voters or given to political supporters instead of worth while development investment in the constituencies. An example is in Ulawa Ugi constituency, the CDF funds is used to purchase 9, 3 tonnes pick up trucks and 9 OBM canoes for distribution to 9 major villages on Ulawa island and 9 major villages in Ugi island. Recent abuse of power for political gain was the distribution of to each constituency $100,000 (Solomon Islands Dollars) (13,630 USD) during the April 2014 flooding in Honiara instead of giving the money to National Disaster Management Office (NDMO).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Mr. Mathias, Managing Director, Island Sun, National News Paper Company, September 2014

        Mr. Polican Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014

        Mr. John Roho, Campaign Manager for Jame Tora. September 2014

        Mr. Musu Kevu, Director, Ministry of Home affairs, September 2014.

        Rex Fera, Managing Director, Mafaita Shipping Company, September 2014

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010, section 45 http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf or http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/pacific/SB/Solomon%20Islands%20-%20National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20Act%20(Consolidated).doc/at_download/file

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        31
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying?More about indicator

        Vote buying is common, through projects given to village people, individuals and families. Others would go to the candidate and say he or she has so many voters behind him and will vote for him if he gives money. Now with the new voter identification cards issued to voters, candidates buy the cards for up to $1,500.00 Solomon islands dollars (equivalent to about US200 dollars). An international article speaks to this situation, when it notes, "... it has become highly attractive to sell your vote to the highest bidder. This has led to voters receiving up to 5,000-6,000 Solomon Dollars for their vote, roughly equivalent to 700-800 US Dollars."

        There were numerous report on vote buying in the papers. For example before 2010 national election all previous members of parliament were given funding support to supply almost all houses in the constituencies with 20 - 30 watts solar lighting system fitted with 3 energy saver light bulbs and solar battery. These were given to voters only, those assumed to have voted for another candidate were not given solar lights. In the last election and again now, those that did not yet receive solar lights where promised to receive theirs after the election and only if they voted for the sitting member. This was part of the campaign during the campaign in the communities.

        Now they are currently distributing corrugated roofing irons for voters to build houses and they are being promised to give others if they vote for them in the coming election plus many other promises. These are being reported almost every day in every week.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. Dr Terence Wood wrote two recent blogs regarding his research into election-related behaviour (including vote-buying) in Solomon Islands.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Interview with Ofani Eremae, Editor Solomon Star, September 2014

        Mr. Mathias, Managing Director, Island Sun, National News Paper Company, September 2014

        Mr. Edward Kaipua, News Reporter, Island Sun News Paper, September 2014.

        Mrs. Sulian Rangi, Voter for West Honiara, September 2014.

        Fears for New Electoral Violence in the Solomon Islands", by Marte Hellema, Pressenza International Press Agency, June 26, 2014. http://www.pressenza.com/2014/06/fears-for-new-electoral-violence-in-the-solomon-islands-2/

        Reviewer's sources: "Devil’s Night! What goes right in Solomons elections, what doesn’t, and what to expect", November 17, 2014, http://devpolicy.org/devils-night-what-goes-right-in-solomons-elections-what-doesnt-and-what-to-expect-20141117-2/#comment-421339 "Elections, and the state Solomon Islands is in", November 14, 2014, http://devpolicy.org/elections-and-the-state-solomon-islands-is-in-20141113/

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        32
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do civil society organizations use political finance data?More about indicator

        No civil society organizations have used political finance data in their media reports or in any other publications they have done, as there is no such public information available.

        All information collected including political financial data (if there is any) are not shared but kept in respective offices with no proper filing and storage system. There is no requirement to make this public, and it is not shared.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three civil society organizations have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their advocacy or awareness work.

        A 50 score is earned where one civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its advocacy or awareness work.

        A 0 score is earned where no civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its work.

        Sources

        Media Officer, Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT), September 2014

        Mr. Philip Manakako, Media and communication officer, SITI, September 2014

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        33
        Score
        --
        Open Question: Have there been political finance legal reforms or reform bills presented to the legislature in the last 10 years?More about indicator

        Due to high government instability resulting from high movement of parliamentarian from government side to opposition side. A law was passed now known as the Political Parties Integrity Act 2014. This law while addressing stability it also considers financial situation of individuals and political parties. Solomon Islands has always had a coalition government made up of unregulated political party members and independent members. Because of this, it created government instability when individuals minister of the government move to opposition whenever they were unhappy with government decision. Because of this, the PPIA was passed to address government instability through a regulated political party system. The government was supported in the preparation of this act by South Pacific Community (SPC) with technical and financial support. The government had requested support from SPC.

        Though the Electoral Provisions Act has been amended multiple times up until 2010, there were no substantive changes to the sections governing political finance.

        Another law also passed last year, is the Constituency Development Funds Act 2013. This law, as it states in the objectives is "to ensure that the management and disbursement of Constituency Development funds is carried out with integrity and in a prudent manner with a view to safe guiding the interest of potential recipients of the fund". When a member is elected into parliament he/she is entitled to receive funds to support his/her constituency. Because this money is given to member for the constituency, the member often uses it to maintain voters by giving money, goods and projects to those they believe to have supported him/her. The constituency Act was set up to better regulate this fund, how it is to be spent, accounted for and reported. Under the Act, all constituencies will need to have constituency development plan which shows how the money will be spent. Up to October 2014, these documents are still incomplete and therefore they continue to spend money however way they wish.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) political finance reforms, including bills passed, executive orders signed, court rulings and any other legal act that had a direct effect on existent political finance regulation, and 2) all legal reform attempts presented to the legislature even if they were not approved. Please describe the political context that produced the reforms or reform attempts.

        Sources

        Mr. Musu Kevu, Director, Ministry of Home affairs, September 2014

        Mr. Albert Kabui, Assistant Registrar, PPI Commission, September 2014

        Constituency Development Act 2013 http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/sol127932.pdf

        The Political Parties Integrity Act of 2014 http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010 http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf or http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/pacific/SB/Solomon%20Islands%20-%20National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20Act%20(Consolidated).doc/at_download/file

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    Third Party Actors

    More about category
    composite
    0
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      Applicability of the Law to Third-Party Actors
      More about category
      • expand button!
        34
        Score
        NO
        In law, third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority and the information is made publicly available.More about indicator

        There is no law requiring third-party actors to report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors are required to report to the oversight authority itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, and 2) the information must be publicly available.

        A MODERATE score is earned where third-party actors are required to report itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, but the information is not required to be publicly available. A MODERATE score is also earned where regulations exist, but only apply to electoral campaigns of one actor (whether political party or individual candidate).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists

        Mr. Albert Kabui, Assistant Registrar, PPI Commission.

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        35
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority?More about indicator

        Since there is no law requiring third party actors to report to oversight authority, no report has ever been submitted by them.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all third-party actors report to an oversight authority both itemized contributions received and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where third-party actors report to an oversight authority either itemized contributions received or expenditures, but not both. A 50 score is also earned where the reports refer only to one type of third-party actor, but do not cover others.

        A 0 score is earned where third-party actors rarely or never report itemized contributions received or expenditures.

        Sources

        Joy Abia, Legal Officer, ALAC, Solomon Islands Transparency International, August 2014

        Winston Dove Sale, Board of Director, Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT) September 2014

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        36
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent can journalists and citizens easily access the financial information of third party actors, including the political spending of those actors in support of political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        The public does not have direct access to the financial information of third parties and their political spending. There is no publication of their financial information.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online or in hard copy at the cost of photocopying, 2) it can be obtained within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Edward Puia, New Reporter, Island Sun Mews Paper, September 2014

        Joy Abia, Legal Officer, ALAC, Solomon Islands Transparency International, August 2014

        Winston Dove Sale, Board of Director, Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT) September 2014

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        37
        Score
        --
        Open Question: Please describe how third party-actors (even if they are not regulated by your country's laws) obtain contributions and spend in support of political parties and/or individual candidates.More about indicator

        Different actors obtain funds in in different ways in support of political parties and/or individuals. Some examples of politically active third parties include Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT), Solomon Islands Council of Women (SICW), Solomon Islands Transparency International (SITI), and Solomon Islands National Union of Workers (SINUW)

        The National Council of Women sometimes obtain funding support from regional and international organizations. The fund is used to raise awareness on women roles in thew society and indirectly to support women candidate in the national election. Big support have been provided for this as there is so far only 2 women parliamentarian elected into parliament. One this term now dissolve ready for next election this year and one for one term previously. The SINCW only reports to its members in the Annual General Meetings (AGM). On funds received from international donors and SIG, they submit copy of the AGM report to Ministry of Women, Youth and children's Affair (MWYCA) the responsible government department and to the donors. They are not mandated to publish the reports except members to view.

        The National Union of Workers always works closely with Labor Party, and most of their money comes from companies and industries in the country. The Solomon Islands Workers Union (SIWU) receives funds from members and donations from individuals both national and international. On the reporting, they report to their members during Annual General Meetings. Copy of the report is submitted to Solomon Islands Registrar General. They do not normally publish their reports.

        The SIDT do not give money direct to political parties, they instead use their funds in a watchdog role. In the last national election in 2010, SIDT through the support from EU sent out election observers throughout the country.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. No formally organized third party groups channel resources to individual candidates. Business interests (e.g. logging) channel money informally to candidates, but because there is no law formalizing this funding, it is not formalized.

        Scoring Criteria

        To answer this question please: 1) list the types of third-party actors that exist in your country and describe how they work to influence campaigns, 2) explain how important such actors are or not in the context of campaigns, including whether their expenditures are substantial in relation to that of political parties and individual candidates, and 3) if documented evidence indicates they circumvent laws intended to regulate political finance, please explain how and include references to the evidence.

        Sources

        Tony Kagovae, General Secretary, Solomon Islands National Union of Workers, September 2014

        Joy Abia, Legal Officer, ALAC, SITI, September 2014

        Josephine Teakeni, President, SICW, September 2014

        Lorio Sisiolo, General Secretary, SINCW, September 2014.

        Ella Kauhue, President, SINCW, September 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Dr Terence Wood "Elections, and the state Solomon Islands is in", November 14, 2014, http://devpolicy.org/elections-and-the-state-solomon-islands-is-in-20141113/ ; Ashley Wickham "Visible and invisible hands: developing the Solomon Islands economy", April 17, 2013, http://devpolicy.org/visible-and-invisible-hands-developing-the-solomon-islands-economy-20130417/ ; Dr Jon Fraenkel, "Party loyalties and the number of voters in Solomon Islands: the November 19th election and its aftermath", November 15, 2014, http://devpolicy.org/party-loyalties-and-the-number-of-voters-in-solomon-islands-the-november-19th-election-and-its-aftermath-20141115/#comment-422057.

  • expand button!

    Monitoring and Enforcement

    More about category
    composite
    26
    • expand button!
      Monitoring Capabilities
      More about category
      • expand button!
        38
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, political finance information is monitored by an independent oversight authority.More about indicator

        Under the National Parliament National Provisional Electoral Act 2010, the only monitoring of political finance is in the collection of expense reports by each candidate to a Returning Officer of the Electoral Commission (45(1)). This report, and the limit of expenses to $50,000 (6815 USD) per candidates are the only political finance elements that fall in the Electoral Commission's purview.

        The Electoral Commission itself was established in Article 57 of the Constitution, and in 58.-(1) it establishes: "The Electoral Commission shall have general responsibility for, and shall supervise, the registration of electors for the election of members of Parliament and the conduct of elections of such members and the Commission shall have such powers and other functions relating to such registration and such elections as may be prescribed."

        However, in the new act the PPIA 2014 provides for a Political Parties Commission, which in Article 7 is noted to be independent: "(7) The Commission is not subject to direction or control by any person or authority other than a Court." This Commission oversees political finance of political parties, and through them, their candidates. However, it does not have authority over independent candidates.

        Part 2 section 6 (1) (a,b,c,d,e,f & g) state as follows: "(I) For the purposes of achieving the objects referred to in section 3, the Commission shall have the following powers and duties _ (a) to formulate, monitor and review policies relating to the regulation of political parties; (b) to oversee the registration, administration and development of political parties; (c) to administer and ensure compliance with the Act; (d) to deliver public education and raise public awareness in relation to the provisions of the Act and other laws dealing with political parties; (e) to register political parties and remove such registered parties from the Register; (f) to investigate and enquire into the affairs of a political party for the purpose of ascertaining any breach of the Act; and (g) to issue integrity standards."

        So from 2016 and onward, an independent oversight authority will be in place to monitor all political finance information. This role will be mainly played by the Political Party Integrity Commission already in place as mandated by the same act.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) an independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, and 2) the authority has investigation and audit powers.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, but doesn't have investigation or audit powers.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Integrity Act of 2014, Part 2 section 6 (1) (a,b,c,d,e,f & g) http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010, section 45(1) http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf or http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/pacific/SB/Solomon%20Islands%20-%20National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20Act%20(Consolidated).doc/at_download/file

        The Constitution of the Solomon Islands, 1978 No. 783, Articles 57& 58. http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/business&procedure/constitution.htm

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        39
        Score
        NO
        In law, high-level appointments to the oversight authority are based on merit.More about indicator

        The Political Parties Commission oversees political finance of political parties, and through them, their candidates. However, it does not have authority over independent candidates.

        Part 2 section 5 of PPIA 2014 covers the appointment process, which involves consultation, but is not necessarily a public process. "5. (1) The Commission shall consist of three members who shall be persons selected from among former Governors-General, former Speakers of Parliament, retired judges and retired heads of faith-based organizations, and any other eminent citizens, appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of Opposition. (2) The Prime Minister shall recommend to the Governor-General one of the Commissioners to be appointed as the Chairperson of the Commission. (3) The names of those appointed to the Commission shall be published in the gazette. (4) Each Commissioner shall serve a term of three years and renewable for two further three year terms, but no more than a total of nine years."

        Part 2 section 8 of PPIA 2014 stated that high-level appointments to the oversight authority are broadly based on merit. "8. (1) A person is eligible for appointment as a Commissioner, if he or she- (a) has good knowledge of the political institutions and systems in the Solomon Islands; and (b) has not been convicted of any crime of dishonesty, or any criminal offence. (2) A person is ineligible for appointment as a Commissioner, and a current Commissioner shall be removed from the Commission, if he or she - (a) holds any elected office in the National Parliament, a Provincial Government or Local Government; (b) is a member of, or is involved in the management of a political party; or (c) is convicted of any crime of dishonesty or any other offence".

        The Electoral Commission and its returning agents currently oversee the only two political finance regulations involving candidates (as noted in #38). This commission is formed on appointments without a public process, and without specific merit qualifications or conflict of interest provisions based on party membership or other such loyalties. "57. (1) There shall be an Electoral Commission consisting of - (a) the Speaker, who shall be Chairman of the Commission; and (b) two other members (in this section referred to as "the appointed members") appointed by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission. (2) A person shall not be qualified to be an appointed member of the Commission if he is a member of, or a candidate for election to, Parliament or the Honiara city council or any provincial assembly. (3) Subject to the provisions of the next following subsection, an appointed member of the Commission shall vacate his office - (a) at the expiration of the period specified in the instrument by which he was appointed; or (b) if any circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the Commission, would cause him to be disqualified from appointment as such."


        Peer Reviewer comment: Disagree I think the Commission deserves a higher score, as under the PPIA part 2 s.8 provides for a moderate level of merit, and prevention of conflict of interest, considering the context of Solomon Islands, being a small island state with a very small professional class to choose from.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process; and 2) appointees must be free of conflicts of interest due to personal loyalties, family connections, political party affiliations, business partners or other biases.

        A MODERATE score is earned where high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process, but the regulations don't forbid appointments involving conflicts of interest or other biases.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Integrity Act of 2014, Part 2 Section 8 (1) a,b (2) a,b,c http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

        The Constitution of the Solomon Islands, 1978 No. 783, Articles 57& 58. http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/business&procedure/constitution.htm

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010, section 45(1) http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf or http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/pacific/SB/Solomon%20Islands%20-%20National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20Act%20(Consolidated).doc/at_download/file

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        40
        Score
        25
        In practice, to what extent are high-level appointments to the oversight authority based on merit?More about indicator

        In practice, the appointees for both the Electoral Commission and Political Parties Commission do not go through public advertisement but are directly appointed by government, and should be based on merit This is done not through any independent body or organization recommending names.

        The appointment of PPI commission is by the Governor General through recommendation from Prime Minister and Opposition leader under section 5 of PPIA. The current appointment in the PPI Commission was according to the qualifications identified in the act. Mr. Paul Tovua, a former speaker of parliament and former parliamentarian, Reverend Philimon Riti, a retired United Church reverend, Ruth Lilogula, a former public servant and Dr. Patricia Rody, a university lecturer in the Solomon Islands University.

        In the electoral commission, always the chairman must be the speaker of parliament. In the previous chair in 2006, who was the speaker of parliament was also the president of a political group. This created a lot of discussion and disagreements. The appointment of members was always based on the recommendation of the commission with any specific guide and merit and according to Musu Kevu, recommendation just says, "fit and proper" for Minister of Home Affairs to view and recommend to Judicial and Legal Service Commission to make appointment.

        Appointment of members in the Electoral Commission is always based on recommendation from the existing commissioners. The basis of appointment, according to Musu Kevu, are as follows: for Chairperson, he/she must be the current speaker of parliament, for members, he/she must be someone with some electoral knowledge background, former Member of Parliament, retired public servants and fit and healthy. The recommendations were not made with any specific guide for merit, and have not contained any specific qualifications but the word “fit and proper” in the recommended list of names.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) there is an advertised competition and public vetting process, 2) candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed.

        A 50 score is earned where the public competition is usually advertised and the vetting process public, but exceptions exist. A 50 score is also earned where candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where there's rarely or never a public competition, or appointees are rarely selected on merit or without conflicts of interest or other biases.

        Sources

        Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014

        Mr. Musu Kevu, Director, MHA September 2014

        Calvin Ziru, Registrar, PPI Commission, August 2014.

        Albert Kabui, Assistant Registrar, PPI Commission, September 2014

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        41
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, the independence of high-level appointees is guaranteed.More about indicator

        Under law the independence of the Political Parties Commission is guaranteed.
        Section 7: "The Commission is not subject to direction or control by any person or authority other than a Court." Section 11: "The decisions of the Commission shall be final and binding on all persons and political parties affected by them, except as otherwise provided for in this Act".

        The Political Party Commissioners have a defined term, but there is no law governing removal or disciplinary actions. Section 5(4): "Each Commissioner shall serve a term of three years and renewable for two further three year terms, but no more than a total of nine years."

        As for the Electoral Commission: The Constitution, article 57. "(3) Subject to the provisions of the next following subsection, an appointed member of the Commission shall vacate his office - (a) at the expiration of the period specified in the instrument by which he was appointed; or (b) if any circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the Commission, would cause him to be disqualified from appointment as such." Article 126: The process of removal is clearly defined and laid out entailing sufficient due process.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. It would seem from the law (implied, not expressly stated) that PPI Commissioners could be easily removed and replaced at the end of their term (see s.5 (4)). However, it would be more difficult to do so before their term had expired. S.5 (4) says, "Each Commissioner shall serve a term of three years and renewable for two further three year terms, but no more than a total of nine years." The Act is silent in regard to how they are removed, so it can be implied that they can be removed at the end of their term by not having their terms renewed, and a replacement Commissioner appointed through the process outlined in s.5 (1). Arbitrarily removing them before their term expires is not covered expressly by the PPI Act, and thus an attempt to do so may be considered unlawful.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, 2) the law establishes security of tenure, and 3) removal or disciplinary actions are based on due process conducted by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A MODERATE score is earned where appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, BUT one of the second two conditions mentioned in the YES criteria is not met.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Integrity Act of 2014, Part 2 Section 8 (1) a,b (2) a,b,c http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

        The Constitution of the Solomon Islands, 1978 No. 783, Articles 57& 58. http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/business&procedure/constitution.htm

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010, section 45(1) http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf or http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/pacific/SB/Solomon%20Islands%20-%20National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20Act%20(Consolidated).doc/at_download/file

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        42
        Score
        25
        In practice, to what extent is the independence of high-level appointees guaranteed?More about indicator

        In practice, certain decisions that direct affect government, political parties and/or individuals are subject to political influence, thus questioning the independence of the commission. For example, in the Electoral Commission, there has been a lack of submission of required campaign reports from the majority of members of parliament. The appointment of the electoral commission chairperson was delayed and deliberation of this matter has never taken to the commission. According to the Chief Electoral Officer who is also the secretary of the commission, in some cases decisions made were biased as they were made based on political influence.

        The delayed appointment was before the 2010 national election. in the appointment of the chairperson to the commission office. This was to be the speaker of parliament. While he was the right person because he was the speaker, he was also at the same time a president of a political party in the government. This implied that he would not be neutral as a chairperson in the commission, thus his appointment was delayed.

        According to Musu Kevu, there was a clear occasion in the 2006 national election, when political resure was applied in the appointment of a registration officer in Central Islands Province, the provincial Premier does not want different person but their selected person. So the commission was directed to appoint that person instead of their selection.

        Under the new PPIA 2014, the independence of the PPI commission will be tested from 2016 onward.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. In practice, the independence of high-level political appointees to any public body in Solomon Islands is subject to socio-political limits. SI is a small country with an extremely limited pool of appropriate candidates for roles such as the Electoral Commissioner. There is no real private sector of any scale comparable to a larger country, and thus employment and other benefits for qualifed SIers will most likely come from some kind of public office. Public officers serve with the knowledge that if they make life difficult for politicians, it is unlikely that they will be re-appointed.

        For example, the Forestry Commissioner was recently moved on unexpectedly, in the middle of an election campaign. A further example is the moving on of the long-time Permanent Secretary for Finance.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all of the following conditions are met: 1) appointees review cases and issue decisions without fear or favor from other branches of government, and 2) appointees are granted security of tenure and 3) no appointees are removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 50 score is earned where any of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees generally operate without fear or favor from other branches of government but exceptions exist, or 2) some but not all appointees are granted security of tenure, or 3) appointees are occasionally removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 0 score is earned where at least one of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees operate with fear or favor from other branches of government, or 2) are not granted security of tenure, or 3) are usually removed, disciplined or transferred without observing due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        Sources

        Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, Electoral office, August 2014

        Mr. Musu Kavu, Director, MHA, September 2014

        Albert Kabui, Assistant Registrar, PPI Commission, September 2014

        Reviewer's sources: "Forest chief removed, Lilo behind Reeves Moveni's removal", Solomon Star, 7 Nov 2014, http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/national/4861-forest-chief-removed-lilo-behind-reeves-moveni-s-removal.

        "Hou blames Lilo for reshuffling of Fanega as Finance PS", Solomon Star, Oct 28, 2014, http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/national/4681-hou-blames-lilo-for-reshuffling-of-fanega-as-finance-ps

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        43
        Score
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        Open Question: How does decision-making work in the oversight authority?More about indicator

        In the new PPI Commission all schedules including procedures on how to conduct meetings and decision making are yet to be done. There are three members. The PPI Commission was appointed already and the office established in August this year 2014 with 3 officers, the registrar, his assistant registrar and Administration Assistant. The office is now in operation currently registering political parties.

        As for the Electoral Commission, decisions were made after discussion of issue or agenda item. The secretary of the Commission does the research utilizing all officers in the electoral office and makes a presentation for and against the agenda item. Members of the commission based on their background knowledge and information along with the information presented by the secretary deliberate on the decision. All decisions were made by majority by show of hands during the meeting. There is no secret voting.

        According to the Chief Electoral Officer who is also the secretary of the commission, in some cases decisions made were biased as they were made based on political influence.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe: 1) the composition of the decision-making body within the oversight authority, 2) the type of decisions it's allowed to make and makes in practice, and 3) in which cases majority is required. If there have been well substantiated complaints about the decision-making process being ineffective or politicized please explain.

        Sources

        Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer and Secretary to Electoral Commission August 2014

        Albert Kabui, Assistant Registrar, PPI Commission, September 2014

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        44
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent does the authority have sufficient capacity to monitor political finance regulations?More about indicator

        The Electoral Commission was the only oversight authority before the establishment of the PPI Commission, and it never in the past had sufficient capacity to monitor political finance. They have no funding support either from the government or outside to monitor. The Electoral Commission only collected 3 candidate reports on time in the last election. There were no other reports collected nor did the Electoral commission follow up to collect them. There was no review of the reports done.

        Under the new PPI Act 2014, section 9 (1, 2), the new Political Parties Commission will manage its own budget: "(1) The budget of the Commission shall be as appropriated by Parliament. (2) The Commission shall control and manage its approved budget in full compliance with its obligations under the Public Financial Management Act 2013. (3) The Commission shall be allocated with a separate head of expenditure and revenue under the national budget and the Registrar shall be the accountable officer". This Commission is not yet functional, and its capacity remains to be assessed.

        The PPI commission is established already, they have 4 members appointed already, 3 staff appointed with a new office in place. They are currently in the process of registering political parties. Last week, this month about 5 political parties were published in the papers.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Disagree The fact that the PPI Commission has qualified staff, an office and funding in place means that prima facie, it has resources to monitor political finance under the terms of its Act. Whether it does or not is a question to be answered in the future, based on the will of its leadership to fulfill its mandate. Because there is no compulsion to make public information about funding of political parties, it will be difficult for the public to know whether or not the PPI Commission is doing its job. Because the PPI Commission is so new, it's impossible to assess its overall capacity at this current moment. However, it is, at the very least, beginning to function. For example, political parties are being registered.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) the authority has sufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, and 2) it has sufficient staff to review all incoming reports.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the authority has insufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, or 2) its staff can only review half of all incoming reports.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the authority can't fulfill most of its essential functions due to budget constraints, or 2) its staff only has the capacity to review 25% or less of all incoming reports.

        Sources

        Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer August 2014

        Joy Abia, Legal Officer, ALAC, Solomon Islands Transparency International, August 2014

        Edward Kaipua, News Reporter, Island Sun News Paper, September 2014

        Reviewer's sources: "Commission maintains position on party issue", Solomon Star, Nov 7, 2014, http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/national/4850-commission-maintains-position-on-party-issue.

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        45
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent does the authority conduct investigations or audits when necessary?More about indicator

        There has been no investigation undertaken on political finance in the past. According to the chief electoral officer they have not done this because it is not a requirement of the Parliamentary Provision Electoral Act 2010, which does not specifically require auditing of political finance.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority conducted at least three investigations or audits during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 50 score is earned where the authority conducted at least one investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 0 score is earned where the authority didn't conduct any investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        Sources

        Joy Abia, Legal Officer, ALAC, Solomon Islands Transparency International, August 2014

        Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014

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        46
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent does the authority publish the results of investigations or audits?More about indicator

        Because there was no audit report or investigation made on all political finance, there was never any time a report published.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. Furthermore under the new PPI Act, there is no compulsion for the Commission to make any information pertaining to individual parties public apart from information pertaining to the status of their registration, and names of their candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority publishes reports of all its investigations or audits a month or less after their conclusion.

        A 50 score is earned where reports are available to the public more than a month after the conclusion of the investigation or audit.

        A 0 score is earned where reports are not available to the public or they become available after six months or more after conclusion of the investigation or audit. A 0 score is also earned where only summaries of the reports are publicly available.

        Sources

        Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014

        Joy Abia Legal Officer, SITI, August 2014

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      Enforcement Capabilities
      More about category
      • expand button!
        47
        Score
        YES
        In law, there are sanctions in response to political finance violations.More about indicator

        As for candidates' returns governed by the National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act: 45. "(2) If any expenses referred to in subsection (1) amount, in the case of any individual candidate to more than fifty thousand dollars (6815 USD), that candidate shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding three thousand dollars (408 USD) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both such fine and such imprisonment."

        As for political parties as governed by the new PPI Act 2014: 65. "A political party that contravenes section 59 (financial statement of income and election expenses), 60 (quarterly returns) or 61(annual financial reports) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of 15,000 penalty units". 66. "(1) A non-contesting party that contravenes section 55 (electoral activity license) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of 50,000 penalty units.(2) Where a political party is a beneficiary of the election activities of a non-contesting party convicted under subsection (1), the political party shall also be deemed to be guilty of the offence and is liable to the same penalty as the non-contesting party." 67. "A political party that contravenes section 57 (disclosure of campaign funds) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of 15,000 penalty units"


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The SI law currently sets the value of one penalty unit at one Solomon Islands (1) dollar. See the Penalties Miscellaneous Amendments Act 2009 s.3 and the Interpretation and General Provisions Act s.50A.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the law clearly defines violations of political finance laws, and 2) there are clearly defined sanctions for specific violations.

        A MODERATE score is earned where violations are clearly defined but sanctions for specific violations are not.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Integrity Act of 2014, Section 65, 66, and 67 http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010, section 45(2) http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf or http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/pacific/SB/Solomon%20Islands%20-%20National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20Act%20(Consolidated).doc/at_download/file

        Penalties Miscellaneous Amendments Act 2009 s.3. www.paclii.org/sb/legis/num_act/pmaa2009346.rtf .

        The Interpretation and General Provisions Act, s50A, http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/InterpretationGeneralProvisions%28ValidationIdemnity%29_Act%202009.pdf

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        48
        Score
        NO
        In law, the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions.More about indicator

        Part 11 of the PPIA (as noted in indicator 47) provides sanction amounts for a variety of violations. The Political Parties Commission has the authority to sanction a party under section 65, 66 and 67 (see #47 for more detail). In section 68 the PPIA states "Any person or political party aggrieved by an act or decision of the Commission or Registrar under this Act may apply to the High Court for judicial review". The PPC itself cannot set the fine, but the court determines this.

        On the other hand, the Electoral Commission can call for fines called for under the National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act, but cannot themselves enforce it. Only the courts can enforce it. For example, the court of law will decide on the fine if any candidate spends more than SBD$50,000 in the campaign, violating the expenditure cap.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. Under Solomon Islands law and convention, the Public Prosecutor (an independent constitutional office bearer) brings all cases to court of a public nature, including offences committed under electoral law and the new PPI Act. A Commission can recommend to the Public Prosecutor that a prosecution be launched, and provide evidence, but cannot prosecute via its own initiative. The courts will judge the case and impose fines according to the law. It would appear the PPI Commission have no power in their own right to impose penalties under the PPI Act. Likewise with the Electoral Commission.

        Offences under the PPI Act are found in Part 11. All offences under the Act require a judicial proceeding. E.g. a person can only be found to have committed an offence under the Act “on conviction”. The Act provides no power to the PPIC or any other agency to issue summary offence notices, or similar. In Solomon Islands, only the Public Prosecutor prosecutes alleged breaches of the law through the courts on behalf of the state. The Public Prosecutor is an independent constitutional office. The powers of the Electoral Commission under electoral law act in the same way as the powers of the PPIC – they can investigate, and forward a brief of evidence to the Public Prosecutor, but they cannot prosecute in their own right. Each body is governed by their Commissioners, and investigations would only proceed on the initiative of the Commissioners acting in concert.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, and 2) it can directly prosecute violators before the courts or is independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, but it can't directly prosecute violators before the courts or is not independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Integrity Act of 2014, Section 65, 66, and 67 http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/committees/bills&legislationcommittee/2014/Political%20Parties%20Integrity%20Bill%202014.pdf

        National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act 2010, section 45(2) http://www.parliament.gov.sb/files/legislation/Acts/2010/National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20(Amendment)%20Act%202010.pdf or http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/pacific/SB/Solomon%20Islands%20-%20National%20Parliament%20Electoral%20Provisions%20Act%20(Consolidated).doc/at_download/file

        Albert Kabui, Assistant Registrar, PPI Commission, September 2014

        Musu Kevu, Director, MHA, September 2014

        Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014

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        49
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do offenders comply with sanctions imposed?More about indicator

        As earlier noted, there were no sanctions given to those who did not submit their financial reports after the last election. No one was convicted of overspending of the legal amount of 50,000, so there were never any sanctions given to any candidate. The issue according to Musu Kevu is because there was no verification process in place to verify the amount reported. There are repeat offenders who have never been convicted, as no sanction have been imposed on them and therefore there is no compliance with the regulations.

        However, there has in the past been 100% compliance to other sanctions imposed by oversight authority. For example during national election in 2004, a candidate running in one of the constituency did not follow procedure during election campaign, the commission did not allow the constituency to cast their vote during election day resulting in no election done during election day in the constituency.

        In several other instances, individual candidates were not allow to run as candidate because they did not follow proper procedures. One of the procedure was candidate to submit nomination in time with full fee payment and when this is not done, their names omitted in the published candidate list. Just this election registration of voters list, some voters through advise from their prospecting candidate decided to register from their usual place of residence, they were omitted from the list and will not vote in the coming election as penalty to registering in another place.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. There has never been a sanction imposed for a breach of political financing laws and regulations.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) offenders comply with the sanctions imposed without exception, and 2) they are not repeat offenders.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) offenders usually comply with the sanctions imposed but exceptions exist, or 2) most are not repeat offenders but some exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) offenders rarely comply with the sanctions imposed, or 2) most are repeat offenders.

        Sources

        Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014

        Mr. Musu Kevu, Director, MHA September 2014

        Albert Kabui, Assistant Registrar, PPI Commission, September 2014

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        50
        Score
        --
        Open Question: How strong is enforcement, and what impedes more effective enforcement?More about indicator

        Sanctions stipulated Under the new PPI Act 2014 are yet to be tested as it will become effective during 2016 and onward.

        There is very little capacity in the Electoral Commission. They lack proper mechanisms to follow up, no proper verification process on reports and lack finances to conduct work. There is also a major no care attitude amongst officers. There is also lack of enforcement process that needs to be put in place and followed up properly by responsible officers and authorities. In the past however sanction imposed where not more than 12 months. Based on the two examples use in question 49, the first one was just a delay for voters to cust their vote one month later from the rest of the country. The second one was disqualification for that election time, he is allowed to vote but cannot run. In the next national elected he was allowed to run. Enforcement is done through national police, the oversight authority does not monitor the sanctions.

        The new PPI Act will begin to function during this next government term and only then will one be able to assess its effectiveness. Capacity building and strengthening of the commission is very important as it will determine the success of the implementation of the act. Also there are many questions raised in this research are not covered in any of the laws in the country, they need to be considered.

        In addition, both the Electoral Commission and the PPI Commission need to be strengthened and given more power to impose sanctions at the same time reduce the possible influence by political parties.

        The NPEPA needs to be reviewed including the expenditure limit of 50,000 SI Dollars. Verification mechanism need to be considered in the review. Membership composition need to be considered to represent women in the Electoral Commission, currently there is none. Merit appointment in the commission need to be considered as well, currently there is none.

        Other independent oversight CSOs like Solomon Islands Transparency International should be more involved in covering such issues. SITI is the body expected to do this, but they say they will only investigate if people request them to do it. Also they said they are just too busy doing their other important duties.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. Overall, enforcement of all laws in Solomon Islands is weak. Therefore there are practical limits to what changes can be made to political behaviour via laws and regulations.

        Responding to part 1) of the question, all Solomon Islands agencies of state have their capacity undermined by: 1. Lack of technical capacity; 2. Inadequate operational budget: 3. Weak political will to impose a universalist state on all societal actors; and, 4. Weak institutions of civil society. Many agencies have no 'bite', and cannot impose sanctions that change political behaviour, by design. Many consume resources without providing a public benefit.

        Responding to part 2), the most urgent area of reform for political finance is to illuminate publicly WHO is funding politics in Solomon Islands and HOW MUCH are they spending? The PPI Act is a step in the right direction, but the lack of law requiring public disclosure of political financing information means that it won't alter the status quo of how politics is done in Solomon Islands in its current form.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please provide a general explanation of the effectiveness of enforcement, describing: 1) any conditions that may prevent effective enforcement, and 2) explain what are the most urgent areas of reform in the country's political finance system.

        Sources

        Policap Haununu, Chief Electoral Officer, August 2014

        Mr. Musu Kevu, Director, MHA September 2014.

        Albert Kabui, Assistant Registrar, PPI Commission, September 2014

        Ella Kauhue, President SINCW and Commissioner, Law reform commission, September 2014.

        Joy Abia, Legal Officer, ALAC, SITI, September 2014

Solomon Islands is a constitutional monarchy and has a unicameral 50 member parliament with a ""first past the post"" election system. Only one candidate that recieves more vote wins the election. Campaign funds are managed both by the candidate and party level.

The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is elected by Parliament and he chooses the cabinet. Each ministry is headed by a cabinet member, who is assisted by a permanent secretary, a career public servant who directs the staff of the ministry.

The prime Minister is voted in by members of parliament and he appoints his cabinet members. The Governer General is also voted by the members of Parliament to save for 5 years.

The most recent elections prior tot he study period were held in 2010 and most recently on 19 November 2014.