The Majority Leader in Parliament and MP for Suame Constituency, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has described the Minority’s move to stop the implementation of the novel Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy) as an exercise in futility.
According to him, the best option available to the Minority side is to file a motion of rescission in Parliament for consideration.
The Majority Leader has therefore indicated that the reliefs being sought by the Minority through their petition to the Supreme Court are factually inaccurate, in stating that E-Levy is yet to be implemented when the implementation module has already commenced.
He added: “They say they want to stop the implementation, but the bill is already being implemented. So, I don’t understand what they mean by that. Upon the assent of the President to a bill, if Parliament has not postponed the operation of a bill, immediately after the assent, it comes into operation…So, this bill is in operation; the necessary structures are being put in place now. It doesn’t mean it is not being implemented.”
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also took a swipe at the Minority for heading to the Supreme Court to challenge the approval of the bill over a supposed lack of a proper quorum, insisting that the bill was legally passed.
“… I’ll just say that the burden of proof lies on the Minority to go to court and prove their case. I’m sure no Supreme Court anywhere indulges in processes and procedures relating to Parliament…,” he stated in a media interview.
The NDC Minority in Parliament have filed an injunction application at the Supreme Court against the ‘implementation’ of the novel Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy), pending the determination of their substantive case currently before the apex court.
The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, and two other NDC MPs, namely Mahama Ayariga and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, filed the injunction on behalf of the Minority in Parliament.
The three NDC MPs are urging the apex court to restrain the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) from ‘implementing’ the E-Levy until the final determination of their suit challenging the constitutionality of its passage by Parliament.
The injunction application, filed by their lawyer, Godwin Kudzo Tamakloe, on April 19, 2022 avers that millions of people will suffer irreparable harm if the E-Levy Act is not put on hold, and the court determines that its passage was unconstitutional.
According to them, the GRA will be unable to reimburse the millions who have paid the E-Levy, while the 1992 Constitution which is the supreme law of the land would have been undermined.
“That the Plaintiffs having raised an allegation of a breach of the Constitution in the passage of the Electronic Transfer Levy Act, 2022(Act 1075), in order to avoid an incalculable damage, injury and inconvenience not only to the people of Ghana but as well as undermining the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land, the justice of the case demands that the implementation of the Electronic Transfer Levy Act, 2022(Act 1075) is put on hold until the final determination of the instant suit,” the injunction application stated.
The three MPs, in their substantive suit, want the apex court to declare the passage of the E-Levy as unconstitutional and therefore null and void. According to them, Parliament did not have the right quorum to pass the E-Levy as stipulated under Article 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution which had recently been interpreted by the Supreme Court.
They also claim that as at the time the second reading of the E-Levy Bill was done, there were only 136 MPs present in Parliament, instead of the required 138.
To this end, they want the court to declare the whole proceedings, including the second reading, third reading and voting to pass the E-Levy, as unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect. The plaintiffs are also seeking an order from the court to set aside the passage of the E-Levy by Parliament.
The court has scheduled the hearing of the case for May 4, 2022, three days after the planned date for the implementation of the levy.