THE COMMISIONER-GENERAL OF GHANA REVENUE AUTHORITY HAS NO POWER TO GRANT IMMUNITY FOR NON COMPLIANCE OF A STATUTE
The publication of the Commissioner-General of Ghana Revenue Authority that is postponing the compliance of the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) to April 1, 2018 is an aberration in the face of our laws. It almost sounded like “April fool” and we cannot be fooled.
The Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) only gave a power to the Commissioner-General to exempt an institution mentioned in schedule one of the Act. It is indeed provided under section 11(2) of Act 915 in the manner infra:
“Except otherwise directed by the Commissioner – General in writing, institution specified in the First Schedule shall request for
- a Tax Identification Number from a person who conducts official business with the institution; or….”
The obvious question is; which law confers this power on the Commissioner-General to issue this publication in the form and or nature it is so published? Article 23 of the Constitution, 1992 stipulates that;
“Administrative bodies and administrative officials shall act fairly and reasonably and comply with the requirements imposed on them by law and persons aggrieved by the exercise of such acts and decisions shall have the right to seek redress before a court or other tribunal”
By this constitutional provision, the Commissioner-General should comply with the requirements imposed on him by law and not to exceed same. This Center believes that the Commissioner-General has become an instrument of lawlessness and ought to be called to order. What he can do under the law is in writing exempt institutions from requesting for TIN from persons who conduct official business with them. The law does not grant authority to issue immunity to lawless Ghanaians to comply with the Act.
In conclusion it is obvious that the Commissioner-General is exercising powers he does not have. Even the courts of our land have been warned not to exercise powers they do not have especially when same violates a statute of the land. Hear the Supreme Court thus:
“No judge has authority to grant immunity to a party from the consequences of breaching an Act of Parliament”.
Ex-parte Ghana Lotto Operators Association  SCGLR 372 @ 402.
Solomon Osei Fosu
Center for Constitutional Order (CENCORD)