The unpleasant housing levy proposed by President William Ruto’s government has been declared unconstitutional by the High Court.
Throughout the ruling on petitions filed challenging the Finance Act 2023, Justice David Majanja ruled that the court had found the levy to have violated Article 10, 2 (a) of the constitution.
“We find that the introduction of the housing levy amendment to section 84 lacks a comprehensive legal framework in violation of Article 10 of the constitution, that levy against persons in formal employment without justification is discriminatory and irrational,” Majanja read in his judgement on behalf of a three-judge bench.
Judges Lawrence Mugambi and Christine Meoli made up a three judge bench that delivered the ruling on Tuesday afternoon.
While ordering that no charges should be further collected, Justice Majanja ruled that sections 84, 72 to 78 of the Finance Act have also been termed null and void.
“An order is granted prohibiting the respondent from collecting, charging on otherwise the charge known as the affordable housing act,” he said.
The Levy, a cardinal pillar in the Finance Act, started being deducted from formally employed Kenyans in July, with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) mandated as the collecting agent.
Employers have been remitting their 1.5 percent contribution alongside a similar rate for their employees as well.
The Finance Bill 2023 was passed by parliament on June 22, 2023, and was later assented to by President William Ruto on June 26.
The High Court later suspended the implementation of the act on June 30, after multiple petitions were filed.
The Court of Appeal later on July 29, lifted the suspension, leading to a hearing of the case on September 13. Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah and six others moved to court seeking to stop the implementation of the Finance Act 2023.
Omtatah argued that the Finance Bill contains amendments to several laws that have nothing to do with raising revenue and laws that affect the work of the Senate to protect the interests of counties and their governments