Passage of E-Levy cannot be challenged-Lawyer

Private legal practitioner lawyer Kofi Bekai has indicated that the proceedings that saw the approval of the E-Levy cannot be challenged.

He said although the Minority staged a walkout, the process to pass the E-Levy cannot be challenged because a voice vote was used and not a headcount.

He was speaking on Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm.

He said ”if the action taken to reject the 2022 budget was wrong, then the process used in passing or approving the E-Levy is also wrong. But we did not use the headcount, but rather a voice vote. So there is no challenge to that.”

The lawyer said per the standing orders of parliament, the House can use a voice vote to arrive at a decision or headcount where the majority will carry the vote.

Lawyer Bekai said at the passage of the E-Levy, that it was known that the Minority had staged a walkout but the action used was not wrong in passing the levy.

”We did not use a headcount where you can count the numbers to pass the levy. It was through a voice vote. If the MPs were counted, there would have been a challenge. But the premises on what the Speaker brought to book to use a voice vote was what the standing orders required under the circumstance, and so there is no challenge to it,” he added.

Three Minority Members of Parliament have sued the Attorney General and Minister of Justice over the controversial Electronic Transfer Levy (E-levy) approved by Parliament on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

The MPs are Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu (Tamale South), Mahama Ayariga (Bawku Central), and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (North Tongu).

The three MPs claim that Parliament did not have the right numbers to form a quorum for the passage of the E-levy Bill into law, thus, asking the apex court to declare the approval as a nullity.

They are therefore invoking the original jurisdiction of the court pursuant to Articles 2 (1) and 130 (1) of the constitution and rules 45 (1) and (2) of the Supreme Court rules (1996) C.I 16.

The court on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, dismissed an application for an interlocutory injunction which they filed to stop the implementation until the substantive case had been heard.

The court said the Republic would suffer a great deal if the government is temporarily stopped from deducting the levy from electronic transactions.

It however noted that mechanisms do exist within the current tax regime to refund payees who have either over-paid or wrongfully paid, and that must be taken advantage of.

The apex court further ordered the Ghana Revenue Authority to keep accurate records of all e-levy deductions to enable a refund to payees if it is later determined that the law was passed unconstitutionally.


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