Audited expenses an absolute must for candidates

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Expenses reports of candidates running for this year’s Legislative Assembly Election will have to be approved by a locally registered auditor prior to submission to the Electoral Commission, chairman Tong Hio Fong said yesterday.
Maximum expenses for candidates is capped at MOP3.55 million (US$443,649) this year, while an audited expenses report will have to be submitted to the Commission within 90 days following Election Day on September 17.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, the Commission chairman said the body will wrap up its meetings for election arrangements this month.
He added that the Commission may not be able to meet with the Macau Portuguese and English Association (AIPIM) to clarify some of the Association’s doubts regarding media coverage for the election due to time restraints.
In March, the Commission held a clarifying session for local media, in which it warned that local media could incur ‘infractions’ if its coverage was considered propaganda, defined by the Electoral Law as ‘activities that directs the attention’ or reports that lead residents to vote for particular candidates.
Following the session, AIPIM sent a clarification request to the Commission.
“We received the letter and will respond through written form although we didn’t have that much time given the past Tuesday was a holiday,” said Mr. Tong. “The issues raised are basically what we discussed in our clarifying session with the press. We respect the freedom of the press but that freedom has to respect legal requirements. Per example a report humiliating a candidate is not allowed.”