High Court Extends Finance Bill Act Suspension To Monday
High Court Extends Finance Bill Act Suspension To Monday. On July 5, NAIROBI, Kenya — The High Court has upheld conservatory orders until Monday, delaying the implementation of the Finance Act 2023.
Justice Mugure Thande said she will make directions on Monday in instructions released after a day-long virtual hearing during which the activists who brought the case asked the court to declare itself in contempt of its earlier orders.
Prof. Githu Muigai, a former attorney general who was representing the State during the virtual appearance, contested the petition and claimed it put the nation at risk of a financial collapse.
By granting the directives requested by Senator Okiya Omtatah and six other activists, he claimed, a constitutional crisis would actually be brought on.
Muigai said the court, “What the petitioners have done is that they have precipitated a constitutional crisis without precedent.”
He informed the judge that the court had been misled by the seven petitioners.
“They have compromised all other budget statutes, including the Appropriations Act 2023, by misleading the court to suspend the Finance Act 2023.”
Muigai’s argument was rejected by Omtatah, who was joined by Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo, as being without merit.
On June 30, a day after it was supposed to go into effect and in the midst of controversy about tax proposals, notably the doubling of Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol, the High Court postponed the Finance Act 2023.
The State was then instructed by Justice Thande to provide a response by Tuesday, July 4.
The orders effectively prevented the government from imposing any taxes in accordance with the new Act, including the 8% increase in the gasoline VAT that was scheduled to go into effect on Saturday.
However, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) went ahead and increased the price of gasoline, diesel, and kerosene by 8% while raising the VAT rate from 8% to 16%.
After the National Assembly approved his tax proposals in spite of objections from civil society and the opposition Azimio coalition, President William Ruto signed the legislation on June 26.
The leader of Azimio, Raila Odinga, has already called for rallies against the new Act beginning on July 7. He accuses President William Ruto of being indifferent to Kenyans’ problems.
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Kenyans are not taken into account by the president. He doesn’t care, which is why we need to protest since it is the only language he can comprehend, Raila said on Tuesday during a rally in Kamukunji grounds.
In the application before the court, the petitioners disputed the inclusion of twenty-two Act sections “which were not in the Bill but were introduced on the floor of the National Assembly.”
They also contested the inclusion of 40 other clauses, stating that the Senate’s approval of the aforementioned tax proposals was essential.
Additionally, the petitioners criticized the inadequate public participation in the legislative process.