Omtatah in court to have new Finance Act suspended


Omtatah in court to have new Finance Act suspended
Activist Okiya Omtatah in court on Monday, February 5, 2018

In Summary

  • Omtatah, in his petition, wants the court to issue an interim order suspending the implementation of the Act saying it was enacted in violation of express provisions of the Constitution.
  • According to Omtatah, 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.

Activist Okiya Omtatah has gone to court challenging the Finance Act 2018 that was signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week.

Omtatah, in his petition, wants the court to issue an interim order 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.

According to Omtatah, 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.

Omtatah also states that where Parliament partially or fully rejects the President’s reservations, and the Bill is not supported by a majority of two thirds of the Members of Parliament, the Bill dies and cannot be presented to the President for assent to become law.

In the court papers, the activist 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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