Mudavadi: Court decision suspending Finance Act ill-informed


Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi. [Standard,file]

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has criticized the High Court's decision to suspend the implementation of the Finance Act 2023.

 The Act, which was passed by Parliament last week and signed into law by President William Ruto on Monday, June 26, has faced opposition from activist Okiya Omtatah, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), and three others who have taken the matter to court.

Mudavadi expressed his disappointment with the court's ruling, stating that it failed to prioritize the public interest.

While acknowledging the importance of the Judiciary's independence, he emphasized the need for the court to consider public interest when making judgments on significant issues.

Mudavadi said the matter in question is a procedural issue, rather than a substantive legal concern, and suggests that alternative means of addressing the issue should have been explored, rather than suspending the entire act.

"The issue in court is a procedural issue, not even substance in terms of the law but mere procedural issue. Whoever made this decision, I hope you will reflect because how can a procedural issue supersede public interest. It is not possible, and it is not good for this country that public interest is taken for granted," said Mudavadi on Saturday.

In their case, LSK argues that Members of Parliament did not follow the law, including Public Participation, and that the bill violates the Constitution, asking the court to find the Act unlawful.

However, in an unprecedented move, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) on Friday announced an increase in fuel prices to account for the 16 percent Value Added Tax (VAT), disregarding a court order that had been issued against such a price hike.

"EPRA has recalculated the maximum pump prices that will be in force between July 1, 2023, and July 14, 2023, taking into account VAT at 16 percent," said EPRA in a statement.

This means that the price of petrol will increase by Sh13.49, diesel by Sh12.39, and kerosene by Sh11.96. In Nairobi, petrol will retail at Sh195.53, diesel at Sh179.67, and kerosene at Sh173.44.

Omtatah has since given EPRA an ultimatum to reverse changes in fuel prices, threatening to sue the parastatal for disobeying the court order.