EC issues election cost details amid questionsThe Election Commission on Sunday unveiled the details of expenditures made during the elections to the House of Representatives and provincial assemblies since questions were raised over the transparency of its spending.
The Election Commission on Sunday unveiled the details of expenditures made during the elections to the House of Representatives and provincial assemblies since questions were raised over the transparency of its spending.
The poll authority claimed to have spent Rs5.62 billion for the two elections held on November 26 and December 7. “The figures may rise a bit once a few remaining payments are made,” said EC Spokesperson Navaraj Dhakal.
If the spending by security agencies is also taken into account, the total cost could top Rs15 billion. According to the Finance Ministry, it has released around Rs10 billion to the Home and Defence ministries for the security measures.
The EC had also received Rs10 billion. The election authority said it would conduct elections for the National Assembly and President and Vice President with the remaining budget.
The EC made public the expenditure details as of January 5 four days after election commissioners held an “informal” meeting with top officials from the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) and the Office of Auditor General (OAG), the Public Service Commission and other constitutional bodies.
The meeting with top officials from the CIAA and the OAG raised questions as the two agencies watch over public expenditures.
Election Commissioner Ila Sharma said there was no relation between the meeting and the release of spending details. “The expenditure details came in line with our plans,” he said.
The EC has also defended the meeting among the constitutional bodies saying that it was a regular monthly event held between the commissions.
But the EC has yet to release the details of expenditure made during the local elections. “It is due to a busy schedule of election preparations,” said Sharma. The poll body claimed to have spent Rs6.89 billion for the local elections held on May 14, June 28 and September 18.
The highest spending comes under the offices of chief election officers and the election officers set up to hold elections for the lower house and the state assemblies. These offices, responsible for holding the elections and releasing election results, spent as much as Rs3.83 billion. The election body also paid the Home Ministry for delivery of ballot boxes after the elections.