High Court declines Omtatah's request to cross-examine speakers


Activist Okiya Omtatah.[Collins Kweyu]

The High Court has rejected an application by Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah seeking to cross-examine the National Assembly Speaker, Moses Wetangula, and his Senate counterpart, Amason Kingi, regarding the implementation of the Finance Act 2023.

 On Monday, Omtatah sought orders to compel the two speakers to appear in person and respond to questions related to the implementation of the new law.

However, Justice David Majanja denied Omtatah's plea, ruling against granting him the requested orders.

Omtatah is challenging the legality of the new tax measures, arguing that the Finance Act 2023 did not undergo scrutiny in the Senate.

"We reject the application to cross-examine the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Speaker of the Senate, and we will provide detailed reasons in our judgment," ruled Justice Majanja.

In response, Omtatah urged the court to exercise fairness in the case, alleging that the two speakers had produced fabricated documents.

"We want to put their feet to the fire," said Omtatah.

He stressed the need to be heard and to receive a fair trial.

Omtatah's focus is in the housing tax, contending that housing falls under the purview of devolved functions, and thus, the bill should have been deliberated by Senators.

At the same time, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) is also seeking orders to suspend the implementation of the Finance Act 2023, asserting that it violates the constitution.

 LSK President Eric Theuri has urged the court to declare the Act's implementation as illegal and null.

He has enlisted the National Assembly, Kenya Revenue Authority, and the Attorney General as respondents.

The cases will be heard by a three-judge bench comprising Justice David Majanja, Christine Meoli, and Lawrence Mugambi on September 13 and 14, respectively.