The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was wrong when he said the Minority did not exhaust the internal procedure in Parliament to deal with disagreements regarding the passage of the e-levy bill before filing the suit at the Supreme Court, Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor, has said.
He stated that there was no internal procedure available to the Minority to challenge the decision after the passage had been concluded by the House and the President signing for it become law.
At that point, he said, the next and only available forum they could rely on was the Supreme Court hence their decision to file the suit.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said on Friday April 22 that the injunction application filed against the implementation of the e-levy by the Minority at the Supreme Court, is an exercise in futility.
In his view, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lawmakers failed to exhaust the internal arrangements in Parliament to resolve disagreements over the approval of the bill.
On Tuesday April 19 the Minority in Parliament filed an application at the apex court to block the commencement of the e-levy deductions.
Hearing of the application will take place on May 4.
The Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta earlier revealed that the implementation of the e-levy would start in May this year.
“We had some meetings with Controller and Accountant Generals Department (CAGD) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and they have said right at the beginning of May they should be able to put their system together,” he told TV3’s Roland Walker in Parliament after President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo delivered the State of the Nation Address on Wednesday March 30.
The E-levy was passed by Parliament on Tuesday March 29 after the third reading in the House. The Minority staged a walkout during the second reading. They walked out after Mr Iddrisu said the NDC MPs remain united in opposing the policy.
But speaking at a press conference with the Parliamentary press corps, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who is also lawmaker for Suame said “They say they want to stop the implementation but the bill is already being implemented, I don’t know what they mean by that. Upon the assent of the President the bill, if Parliament has not postponed the operation, immediately after the assent it comes into operation.
“So, if you fall foul to it you can be prosecuted for falling foul to the bill that has been assented by the President. So this bill is in operation, the necessary structures are being put in place now, it doesn’t mean it is not being implemented, it is being implemented, if the Minister tells you that the actual collection starts from 1st May.
“I think we are beholding some dangerous spectacle in Ghana. Minority party and opposition party exist, Parliament as a whole must be putting government on its toes especially through its committee and if something untoward happens a committee or an individual or the caucus could raise the matter.
“The business of the house requires that these matters are mooted through parliament using the structures to challenge decisions that are taken. If you are saying that you don’t think it was an appropriate representation in the House and you have taken a decision you can come by a motion.
“The burden of proof is on them. On the injunction, I don’t want to pronounce on it but I guess you and I will know that it is going to be an exercise in futility. As far as I am concerned, let us endeavor to exhaust the processes and procedures in parliament, if you are not satisfied and you want to move further upstairs, yes. But at the say so of an individual that let us go to court, when the matter had not been dealt with in Parliament, it is a very dangerous precedent in this country.
“Let nobody convince or persuade himself that the NPP is going to be in government forever, the path that you are charting now will be there to haunt you tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Litigate your matter in Parliament , why are you afraid to litigate your matter in matter?”
Reacting to him on the mid day news on TV3 Saturday April 23, Mr Dafeamekpor said “The leader of the House Honourable Kyei Mensah Bonsu got it wrong. When we left the chamber and the report was adopted, the bill moved into considerations stage, they considered the provision and read it for the third time and it passed.
“They subsequently sent it to the president for his assent, there was no longer any remedy procedure available to the Minority in Parliament to reverse the passage of the bill.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana