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Lawyers Fred Ngatia and Philip Nyachoti successfully applied for more time to submit their legal arguments to the Supreme Court and serve the documents on the Attorney General/CFM-FILE

Kenya

Supreme Court rules that CRA decisions not binding to Parliament

NAIROBI, Kenya May 15 – The Supreme Court has determined that the recommendations of the Commission on Revenue Allocation are not binding to Parliament.

In the advisory opinion backed by a majority of the five-judge bench, Chief Justice David Maraga, who is also the President of the apex court stated that the determination will block a repeat of a prolonged impasse over consideration of the Division of Revenue Bill as was experienced last year.

This forced Governors to move to the Supreme Court to seek its guidance on how government revenues should be shared out between the counties and the national government after the National Assembly disregarded the recommendations of the CRA, which is constitutionally mandated to formulate the revenue sharing projections annually.

The situation took a fresh twist after the National Assembly passed the Appropriation Act, 2019 – which stipulates how funds provided for in the budget is to be allocated- before Parliment had passed the Bill.

Parliament delayed to pass the Division of Revenue Bill following disagreements between the Senate and the National Assembly, a fallout which left the 47 counties starved of cash.

This is after the National Assembly backed the Treasury’s proposal to allocate counties Sh310 billion as equitable shared revenue, but the Senate rejected it and instead provided for the allocation of Sh335 billion in line with the CRA advise.

The mediation committee, with representatives from the two Houses, failed to reach a deal, prompting the court action.

But in its consideration, the Supreme Court cautioned a prolonged stalemate in the enactment could form grounds for any citizen to move to the High Court to seek the dissolution of Parliament for failing to enact the legation under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.

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Lady Justice Njoki Ndungu gave a dissenting opinion.

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