Omtatah: Finance Act should have been subjected for consideration by both Houses

Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah at a Milimani court on  August 07,2023 during the mention of the case challenging Finance Act 2023. [Collins Kweyu,Standard]

Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah has reiterated that the Finance Act, 2023 should be declared null and void.

Speaking during a hearing at the Milimani Law Courts on Wednesday, September 13, Omtatah argued that the Bill ought to have been subjected for consideration by both Houses before being signed into law by President William Ruto.

“Any bill touching on the bill of rights must be subjected to consideration by both houses. The Appropriation Act was not subjected to the senate so it should be null and void. The finance bill as published by the National Assembly was a bill that needed the input of the senate,” he said. 

Lawyer Okong’o Omogeni representing the sixth petitioner, Victor Okuna, also argued that Housing was not a function of the National government but that of the county.

Among the contentious issues in the Bill was the Housing Levy which was amended to 1.5 per cent of gross pay from the initial 3 per cent. 

On his part, lawyer Dan Maanzo, appearing for Florence Kanywa (the seventh petitioner), said the Finance Act did not meet the constitutional set standard. 

“When the act was introduced on the floor. There were amendments introduced that were not subjected to public participation. The National Assembly sneaked many laws into the bill. The particular provisions have to be subjected to the people,” Maanzu said.

On September 8, the Supreme Court declined to stop the implementation of the Finance Act, 2023 after an appeal by Senator Omtatah.

Omtatah and three other petitioners had moved to the Supreme after the Court of Appeal on June 30, lifted orders stopping the implementation of the Act that had been issued by High Court Judge Mugure Thande.

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