Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, says the Minority’s grievances over the passage of the Electronic Transaction levy (E-levy) are flawed particularly when they raise the issue of quorum.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile, Mr Afenyo-Markin noted that instead of the Minority staging a walkout on March 29, they could have stayed and raised the issue of quorum if they believed the Majority did not have the numbers to pass the Bill.
According to the Effutu MP, due to the election of the Assin North MP being annulled, the Minority did not raise the matter as the House was working with 274 MPs.
“When you listen to Honourable Haruna Iddrisu, they never raised the issue of quorum. They only said they were not participating so they left. But if you exit the chamber, it doesn’t mean that your exit will stop public business. It is never the case.
“They could have stayed in to raise the issue of quorum. They didn’t. I don’t understand why they think that by merely walking out, they would ambush us and we would lack quorum.”
“The issue of counting arises only when it is raised. The Criminal Offenses Act we just amended, when we were doing that, we were just 20 or so. Just a few of us. Are they saying that there was no issue of quorum?” he added.
Interacting with host, Samson Lardy Anyenini, Mr Afenyo-Markin noted that in view of the Assin North court case, the Minority prevented Mr James Gyakye Quayson from entering the chamber, so as not to condone an illegality.
“On that day, because the decision on Quayson had sufficed, Quayson was in the office and they didn’t allow him come in. They themselves told him until the stay of execution process was duly filed – They themselves told him, don’t enter the chamber. So, he did not.
At that point, the number was 274 because Quayson’s election has been nullified. The number for taking decision couldn’t have been 275. At that material point in time, our number was 274 not 275,” he explained.
But the Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, thinks otherwise.
Speaking on the show on Saturday, Mr Ayariga stated that the Majority did not make up 138 as required by the Supreme Court to make a quorum due to the absence of Dome Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo and Ebenezer Kojo Kum, the MP for Ahanta West.
According to him, the Minority decided to stage a walkout and not go ahead to vote to ensure the issue of quorum stands against the Majority.
He noted that the Minority’s effort to fight against the implementation of the levy would have been wasteful if the NDC MPs stayed to vote.
“We felt that we had been denied of one of our votes and we were looking at the Mathematics. We would be 136 and they would be 137. Clearly they would win the vote. A lot of people said stand and vote and let them see you have voted and you’ve lost through a vote.
“But we are not fighting so people see that we are fighting. We are fighting to actually stop the legislation. So we thought the best tool to stop the legislation was to try and prevent the existence of a quorum so that there would be another stumbling block.
“We left because based on the Supreme Court ruling, they would need a quorum of 138 to take such a decision and at the time, they didn’t have 138. So far as records show, in the Chamber, they had 136,” he said.
To ensure the revocation of the bill now passed into law, Minority Leader of Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, and his colleagues, Mahama Ayariga and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, have dragged the Attorney-General to the Supreme Court over the approval of the Electronic Transactions Levy.
They are seeking the following reliefs;
“a. A declaration that on the authority of the Supreme Court case of Justice Abdulai v. Attorney-General, Writ No. J1/07/2022 dated 9th March, 2022, the constitutional quorum number for decision-making and voting within the meaning of Article 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution is 138 Members of Parliament out of the 275 Members of Parliament and not 137 Members of Parliament.
b. A declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of articles 2(1)(b) and 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, there was no quorum to enable the 137 Members of Parliament of the Majority Caucus present in Parliament on 29th March, 2022 to pass the Electronic Transactions Levy (‘’E-Levy’’).
c. A declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of Article 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the passing of the Electronic Transactions Levy (‘’E-Levy’’) by the 137 Members of Parliament of the Majority Caucus present in Parliament on the 29th March 2022 without the requisite quorum number of 138 Members of Parliament present in Parliament, is null and void and of no legal effect.
d. An order of the Honourable Court setting aside the passing of the Electronic Transactions Levy (‘’E-Levy’’) by the 137 Members of Parliament of the Majority Caucus present in Parliament on the 29th March, 2022 as a nullity.
e. Any other order(s) the Honourable Court may deem fit.”
On the other hand, President Akufo-Addo has assented to the E-levy Bill, making it law now.
According to Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, the implementation of the levy may commence in May, 2022.
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