Senator Omtatah files lawsuit, challenges Finance Bill 2023 in court

    Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah Okiya Omtatah
    Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah

    Busia County Senator Okiya Omtatah has made true his threats to challenge the Finance Bill 2023 in court.

    The first time Senator Friday filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the contentious Bill which he terms unconstitutional.

    Senator Omtatah had vowed to seek redress in court after the Madaraka Day celebrations saying he will not sit by and watch as the Bill that threatens to destroy the industrial base of this country is enacted into law.

    “This is a war on the Republic of Kenya, it is a fight for the soul of this country, and we are not going to shy from it,” he said at the floor of the Senate Wednesday.

    In a suit filed under a certificate of urgency Friday, Omtatah faults the Executive for usurping the roles of both the taxman and the two Houses of Parliament.

    He argues that President William Ruto is forcing the passage of the Bill which he says amounts to coercing Kenyans to pay tax irregularly.

    In the case, the Senator has enlisted over 30 articles of the Constitution which risks being violated if the Bill is passed.

    “Earlier today I filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of Finance Bill, 2023. There are clear limitations that cannot be breached when doing taxation. You cannot force somebody to save. You cannot force somebody to join an association”, said Omtatah after filing the lawsuit.

    This coming at a time the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning has finalized public hearings on the Bill.

    The Committee, led by Molo MP Kimani Kuria, has for the last nine days been receiving submissions and memoranda from organized groups and individuals on various proposals contained in the Bill that provides for various ways of financing the 2023/24 Budget.

    The Committee is now expected to engage the National Treasury and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on thorny issues raised by respondents during the hearings before retreating to write its report.

    Thereafter, the report is expected to be tabled in the National Assembly for consideration.

    The Bill has an approval timeline of June 30, 2023 and will come into effect from July 1, 2023 if enacted into law.