E-levy suit: Minority now gathering evidence after suit – Afenyo-Markin

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Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has said he has read in between the lines to determine that the Minority are now gathering evidence from proceedings in the House during the approval of the e-levy on Tuesday March 29, to support a case they have filed at the Supreme Court against the approval of the policy.

The Minority had said that Parliament did not have the required number of Members present in the House to be able to take the decision hence, they have sued the Attorney General.

In Parliament on Thursday March 31, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lawmakers raised concerns over the errors in the register that captured happenings in the House during the e-levy approval.

Member of Parliament for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak warned the Clerk of Parliament to sit up and avoid the mistakes that were made in the register.

He described the errors as unforgivable because in his view, they were deliberate.

“The most unforgivable error that I call it deliberate mistake. With the greatest of respect Mr Speaker, we just want to sound caution to our clerk, it is unjust and the Clerk must sit up because knowing the day and the issues on that day he should have been interested to go through to make sure everything was captured properly,” he said on the floor of the House.

But Mr Afenyo-Markin argued that it was not right for Muntaka to be making allegations against the Clerk when the Clerk does not have the right to respond to him on the floor.

The Effutu lawmaker recounted that when he had an issue with Accra-based Joy FM and raised it on the floor of the Housie, Muntaka argued that Joy FM did not have the right to respond on the floor hence, he Afenyo-Markon was not right in raising the issue there.

In the same manner, Afenyo-Markin said Muntaka’s outburst against the Clerk was not fair.

“I think that this is even a matter for us to sit in conclave with [Mr Speaker] to resolve. You remember I told [Muntaka] posterity will come and judge you.

“When I had an issue with Joy FM, you said in this House that because Joy FM cannot respond to me I should take it easy, can the Clerk get up and speak about the allegation you are making against him? So register your protests but don’t add the Clerk because it is unfair to him because he cannot speak.”

He added “Mr Speaker , if somebody has gone to court and now wants to look for evidence to support his case, that person should let us know. This is a House that follows procedure, Mr Speaker, we have read in between the lines.”

Speaker Alban Bagbin apologized to Members of Parliament for the error after admitting that errors did occur and took ultimate responsibility for the mistakes.

He said on the floor on Thursday March 31 that the clerk is only a civil servant and asked that claims that the clerk is partisan be deleted from the records.

“If you look at the attendance register for that day definitely, there are errors, I will take responsibility and apologize to members for these errors,” he said.

Mr Bagbin further indicated that there is no perfect votes and proceedings which is an official report capturing Parliamentary debate, anywhere in the world.

Errors, he said, are anticipated to occur hence, provisions have been made available to correct those mistakes.

He said this after the Minority had said errors were made on the votes of proceedings for Tuesday’s sitting when the e-levy was approved by the House.

The Speaker commended the Minority lawmakers for bringing this up for the necessary corrections to be made.

“There not votes and proceedings anywhere that are perfects,” Mr Bagbin said adding that “…the draft is brought to the house giving opportunity to members to right the wrongs that they have been captured on the votes and proceedings.”

“So rightly you have come and corrected, what you have done is right, we will go through properly and correct the errors,” he said.

Regrading the suit, the Minority are demanding;

a. A declaration that on the authority of the Supreme Court case of Justice Abdulai v. Attorney-General, Writ No. J1/07/2|22 dated 9th March 2022, the constitutional quorum for decision-making and voting in Parliament within the meaning and intent of Article 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution is 138 Members of Parliament present in the Chamber of Parliament out of the 275 Members of Parliament; and not 136 Members of Parliament present in the Chamber of Parliament;

b. A declaration that in accordance with Article 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and on the authority of the Supreme Court case of Justice Abdulai v. Attorney-General, Writ No. J1/07/z022, on the 29h day of March 2022, when the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament put the question for the second reading of the Electronic Transfer Levy Bill, 2021, Parliament lacked the required quorum to vote on the motion before the House, there being only 136 Members of Parliament present in the Chamber of Parliament:

c. A further declaration that by reason of relief (b) above, the purported vote on the motion for the second reading of the Electronic Levy Transfer Levy Bill, 2021 by the 136 Members of Parliament is in contravention of Article 104(1) and therefore null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

d. 4 declaration that in accordance with Article 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and on the authority of the Supreme Court case of Justice Abdulai v. Attorney-General, Writ No. J1/07/2022, on the 29h day of March 2022. when the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament put the question for the Consideration of the Electronic Transfer Levy Bill, 2021 to the house, Parliament lacked the required quorum to vote on each clause of the Electronic Transfer Bill, 2021 before the House;

e. A further declaration that on account of relief (d) above, the purported vote by the 136 Members of Parliament on each clausę of the Electronic Transfer Bill, 2021 is in contravention of Article 104(1). and therefore null, void and of no effect whatsoever;

f. A declaration that in accordance with Article 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and on the authority of the Supreme Court case of Justice Abdulai v. Attorney-General, Writ No. J1/07/2022, on the 29th day of March 2022, when the Rt Hon. Speaker of Parliament put the question to the house for the Third Reading of the Electronic Transfer Levy Bill, 2021, Parliament lacked the required quorum to pass the said Electronic Transfer Bill, 2021;

g. A further declaration that on account of relief ( above the purported Third Reading and subsequent passage of the Electronic Transfer Levy Bill, 2021 is in contravention of Article 104(1) of the
Constitution, and is therefore null, void and of no effect.

h. An order of the Honourable Court setting aside the purported passage of the Electronic Transfer Levy Bill, 2021, bý the 136 Members of Parliament of the Majority Caucus present in the Chamber of Parliament on the 29th March 2022 as being unconstitutional, null and void;

i. Any other relief and/or order(s) the Honourable Court may deem it.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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