AG now wants Omtatah case challenging Finance Bill referred to Chief Justice


Activist Okiya Omtata
Activist Okiya Omtata. Photo/COURTESY

In Summary

  • The Office of the Attorney General, through State Counsel Charles Mutinda, says the petition raises substantial questions of law which need certification.
  • The Finance Bill 2018 has been challenged in court by activist Okiya Omtatah who wants an interim order issued suspending the implementation of the Act.
  • According to the activist, the Finance Bill died the moment it was declared that those members of Parliament opposed to the president’s amendments had failed to raise the requisite numbers.

The State now wants a case challenging the Finance Bill 2018 be referred to the Chief Justice for hearing and determination by a panel of three or more judges.

The Office of the Attorney General, through State Counsel Charles Mutinda,  says the petition raises substantial questions of law which need certification.

“The instant application has been made expeditiously and without unreasonable delay,” reads the application from the AG’s office.

The Finance Bill 2018 has been challenged in court by activist Okiya Omtatah who wants an interim order issued suspending the implementation of the act saying it was enacted in violation of express provisions of the Constitution.

“The Finance Act 2018, which the President assented to on 21st September 2018, is itself also invalid, null and void,” reads court papers filed by Omtatah.

According to the activist, the Finance Bill died the moment it was declared that those members of Parliament opposed to the president’s amendments had failed to raise the requisite numbers.

He claims that the Speaker of National Assembly was wrong to thereafter present a “dead” Bill to the president for assent, further arguing that the implementation of the said Act will be a major violation of the Constitution.

In the court papers, Omtatah avers that if Parliament is sympathetic to the reservations it should amend the Bill to adopt it, adding that only then can the Bill be presented to the President for assent and becomes law.

He argues that the President’s veto power is limited to returning a Bill to Parliament accompanied with a memo containing his reservations.

Similarly, he argues, the president has no power to propose amendments and that his reservations in his memorandum cannot purport to amend the rejected Bill. It is his argument that the President drafted the amendments himself.

Attorney General and Speaker the National Assembly have been named as respondents in the case.

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Story By Dzuya Walter
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