Attorney General Godfred Dame has described as an “embarrassing spectacle”, the performance of Mr Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe, the lawyer for the Minority MPs who filed an application that sought to secure an interlocutory injunction on the 1 May 2022 date for the start of the implementation of the e-levy.
The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, threw out the Minority’s suit on Wednesday, 4 May 2022.
The plaintiffs were Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga.
The Supreme Court, in its ruling, however, ordered the Ghana Revenue Authority to keep accurate records of all e-levy deductions to enable a refund to payees if it is later determined that the law was passed unconstitutionally.
The court, composed of Nene Amegatcher as President, Her Ladyship Mariama Owusu, His Lordship Professor Ashie Kotey, Her Ladyship Gertrude Torkornoo, Her Ladyship Lovelace Johnson, His Lordship Emmanuel Yony Kulendi and Her Ladyship Professor Henrietta Mensah Bonsu, said the Republic would suffer a great deal if the government is temporarily stopped from deducting the levy from electronic transactions.
The plaintiffs had filed an earlier suit at the apex court challenging the passage of the e-levy bill by a one-sided parliament.
They claim the number of legislators in the chamber when the bill was passed did not form a quorum as declared by the Supreme Court.
The opposition MPs want the Supreme Court to set aside the passage of the e-levy bill by the Majority Caucus present in the chamber of parliament on 29 March 2022 as unconstitutional, null and void.
They wanted the court to stop the commencement of the levy until the final determination of the first case.
Speaking to the media after the court ruling, Mr Dame told the media: “You saw what happened in court today: It was an embarrassing spectacle”.
“The lawyer clearly was not able to demonstrate any form of irregularities with proceedings in Parliament”, he explained, illustrating: “The court asked him [Edudzi Tameklo]: ‘So, is there any record that indicates that X number of MPs walked out at a certain stage?’”
“He obviously said no. There was no evidence indicating whether there was a headcount of a number of MPs present in parliament who voted to support the bill”, the Minister of Justice said.
“There was also nothing indicated by the lawyer, which suggests there was a walkout of X number of MPs, so, I think we should ignore all that propaganda,” he said.
Mr Dame added: “…You do not go to court with speculation and conjecture; you go to court on firm evidence”, insisting: “The applicants were unable to demonstrate any form of irregularity”.
He welcomed the ruling, saying: “…I’m fully satisfied with the court’s ruling. I’m content with the outcome and I’m happy that the observation that we made about the application has been affirmed by the court”.
“It is very important to note that the court made a finding that: really, nothing irregular has been demonstrated by the applicant and so far as the proceedings in parliament in question were concerned, everything seemed regular and we have demonstrated the same from the processes that we had filed.
Meanwhile, South Dayi MP Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor has jumped to Mr Tameklo’s defence and tackled the Attorney General on his comments. “You could make your legal argument, you could say that your argument, as canvassed in opposition to the application prevail, that is what we say to lawyers. But don’t tell the general public that his performance today was embarrassing,” he said.
In his view, “as a practising lawyer who has also practised before in the Supreme Court on several occasions, I think Edudzi distinguished himself.”
“Edudzi was answering about four questions at the time from the judges. The judges didn’t hound the AG in that manner. At a point, four judges were asking Edudzi four different questions at the same time. He was able to respond to each and every one of them for the AG to miss a course and take to the media to say that his performance today was embarrassing, is with all due respect to him, unacceptable,” the NDC MP told Accra-based Joy FM.
Source: Modern Ghana