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‘Public Money Management Regularisation Act 2017’ Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court has declared that the Public Money Management Regularisation (PMMR) Act 2017 is unconstitutional.

A law that came into operation on 14 February in 2018 has been ruled as unconstitutional, invalid and ineffective in a ruling today by a panel of five (5) Supreme Court Judges.

Chief Justice, Sir Gibs Salika in reading the summary of the decision says the whole Act is deemed unconstitutionally, invalid, and unenforceable.

The Act’s purpose was “to regularise the handling and management of public money received by public and statutory bodies.”

It provides that public money held or received by a public or statutory body must be deposited in “revenue bank accounts” specified by the Secretary of Finance and that public and statutory bodies must have only one operating bank account, subject to ultimate control by the Secretary of Finance.

The Ombudsman Commission filed a Reference under Section 19 of the Constitution to the Court, asking to declare that the Act was unconstitutional.

The Reference filed by the Ombudsman Commission in 2018 included constitutional issues relating to:

  • Right to ownership of property;
  • Constitutional status of constitutional institutions;
  • Parliamentary control of the courts;
  • Parliamentary control of public finance;
  • Harsh and oppressive penalties;
  • Protection of the law;
  • Constitution as Supreme law; and
  • Freedom of Expression.

The Ombudsman Commission welcomed the Supreme Court Decision and urged all parties involved to have wider consultation on essential proposed laws, and amendments before having it tabled in Parliament to be passed as a law.

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