E-Levy Passage: How Minority Out-Thought Majority To Make Approval Unconstitutional
Tuesday’s supposed passage of the controversial Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy) by a one-sided Majority side was an illegality per the rules on voting in Parliament, the Minority has pointed out.
In the hung Parliament of 137 MPs apiece for the Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) side and the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) side a required quorum for the vote would have been 138 MPs, the Minority has explained.
A quorum is the minimum number of MPs that must be available in parliament for a vote to legally carry and in the hung Parliament it is at least 138 MPs.
However, the NPP Majority was critically bereft of one MP, Sarah Adwoa Sarfo of Dome-Kwabenya, who continued with her crippling hiatus from Parliament.
And so, even with the independent MP for Fomena, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, voting along with the Majority, the NPP could not marshal the needed 138 MPs to form a quorum. However, the Majority side went ahead with the vote anyway.
The tactic that the crippled NPP Majority side was looking to put into effect to pass the thievish e-levy was quite a convoluted one that started from the Supreme Court where the Akufo-Addo government had secured an injunction against the NDC’s MP for Assin North, Hon. Gyekye Quayson.
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court had in its umpteenth controversial ruling that only favored the NPP Government of Akufo-Addo, upheld a controversial injunction against Hon. Quayson by a Cape Coast High Court which ruled that je had no right to present himself as MP because he had run for elections while bearing dual citizenship.
Because of the injunction, Hon. Quayson would have been acting illegally if he had entered Parliament to vote on the e-levy.
The NPP Majority’s hope was that in the NDC Minority’s passionate opposition to the e-levy and the controversial nature of the injunction against him, they would have allowed Hon. Gyekye Quayson to join them in Parliament to vote against the thievish levy.
If the Minority had done that, the Majority would have then run to the Supreme Court which is super friendly to the NPP Government and filed a case of contempt against Hon. Gyekye Quayson and gotten his vote nullified by the court.
This would have then meant that in the e-levy vote, 136 Majority MPs together with Fomena’s independent MP, voted in favor of the levy while 136 of the 137 votes cast by the Minority MPs was legal.
By this technicality, the e-levy would have been duly passed.
However, the Minority MPs were smarter – led by Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrissu, they boycotted the vote leaving only 136 Majority MPs and the independent candidate to vote.
This meant that, the at least 138 MPs that they need to form a quorum to vote was not available.
Even so, they massively voted for the thievish levy which gives government the right to enter into people’s mobile wallets and bank accounts to deduct money immediately they transfer money.
But then, the constitutional implication is that the supposed passage of the e-levy was by a Parliament that could not form the quorum of at least 138 MPs as required by article 104(1) of the 1992 constitution.
The Minority MPs decision to walk out of Parliament during the vote therefore was a masterstroke that made it impossible to form a quorum.
And so, after the supposed passage of the e-levy Bill into law, the Minority has been indicating intent to challenge it in court.
Already, Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has called the supposed passage a charade.
“The Majority of less than 137 conducting businesses only proceeded on illegal and unconstitutional business. Parliament did not have the numbers to take any decision that should be binding Parliament and Ghanaians,” the Minority Leader said.
Hon. Idrissu, together with two of his lieutenants – North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and BAWKU Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, have filed for a stay of execution at the Supreme Court to prevent President Akufo-Addo from assenting the law.