The Head of Opoku Agyei and Co, Julius Opoku Agyei has stated that the Roads and Highways Minister, Kwasi Amoako-Attah does not have the power to suspend the collection of road toll in the manner he did.
According to the legal expert, this should have been done by getting Parliament to revoke the legislative instrument (L.I) that governs the collection of road toll, instead of a letter.
Speaking on JoyNews’ The Law, on Sunday, he explained that the Minister’s use of a letter instead of an L.I to suspend the toll collection is unconstitutional.
“There is a Tolls Act, there is subsidiary legislation that has been passed stating which roads are to be tolled, subsidiary legislation stating how much toll should be collected. The Minister wrote a letter asking for the suspension or for the seizure of the toll collection, does that amount to a revocation of the Act or the legislative instrument? That is the problem that I see.
“If the Minister’s act amounts to a revocation or withdrawal of the Legislative Instrument, then the Minister has no such power. He has power to pass a legislative instrument to impose a toll, determine how much, or where it should be tolled. He has power also to revoke it. But that power can only be exercised by an LI. The same manner in which the toll was imposed. It cannot be done by a letter,” he said.
He added that suspending the toll collection without recourse to the L.I was akin to circumventing Parliament’s right to supervise its lawmaking activities.
Opoku Agyei explained that without Parliament’s backing, the so-called suspension of the toll collection is at variance with the law.
“That is Parliament’s mode of supervising the power it has given to the Minister, that’s why the Minister cannot sit in his Ministry and together with the Attorney-General only turn that power into law.
“It must come back to Parliament, sit in Parliament for 21 days, and if nothing is said about it, it becomes law. If there’s an objection the whole thing goes back to be redone and then brought back,” he said.
He further stated that explanations given by the Ministry of Roads and Highways, describing the Minister’s actions as an administrative procedure and not a legislative one are weak at best.
According to him, the Minister clearly stated that the suspension of the toll collection was pursuant to the proposal of same in the 2022 budget which has since been rejected.
“I didn’t agree with that school of thought. You have stated clearly that this is what the budget has said and you are complying with what the budget has said when the budget itself had not been accepted. What if at the end of the day, the budget was amended to keep road toll at a different rate, what happens?”
“So without even waiting for the budget to be passed, he could have presented the LI to Parliament revoking the LI by which the toll was imposed, that was not done, and that is where I find fault with his actions,” Opoku Agyei said.
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