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Minister can suspend collection of road tolls, says John Kumah

John Kumah is a deputy minister of finance

The deputy finance minister John Kumah has declared that the Minister of Roads and Highways has discretionary powers to make decisions within the laws of Ghana.

He said the Roads and Highways Minister has been given the mandate to fix road tolls, and has equal discretion to suspend the collection of tolls on our roads.

Parliamentary approval

Kumah’s comment comes after the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, directed the Minister of Roads and Highways to reverse the directive on cessation of road tolls until Parliament provides appropriate legislation.

Bagbin said it is only proper for the minister to reverse the directive on the end of public road tolls because Parliament is yet to approve the 2022 Budget.

However, speaking with Beatrice Adu on The Big Bulletin on Thursday (18 November 2021), Kumah explained: “I believe that once he’s been given the mandate to fix road tolls, he also has the discretion to suspend the collection of road tolls.

“So, if he has erred, or somebody thinks contrary, you can go to court. It is the court that has the right to determine whether a minister’s decision was made contrary to the law.

To err is human … but did he err?

“He is the minister, so he is allowed within the laws to use his discretionary powers to take actions within the law,” Kumah said. “So if, in his mind, this is the right thing to do, he’s allowed within the law to make decisions.

“Judges make errors even in their decisions. Ministers are also entitled to make errors. Granted that maybe he even erred,” Kumah said.

In an interview with Asaase News, a former MP for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini, argued that the move by the Roads Minister is merely populist.

“If the Minister of Roads and Highways wanted to do what he did, he should have sought legal advice from the Attorney General. This populist move and action will not augur well for a public officer who flouts the law.

“You need to make rational and legal decisions, decisions based on the legal regime that exists,” Fuseini said.

Nicholas Brown

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