Côte d'Ivoire
Audits, Taxation, Environmental Impact Assessments, Criminal, Forests, Administrative

In this case, the plaintiff, a syndicate of companies from Ivory Coast, challenges two decree taken by the Minister of Water and Forest regulating the environmental impact assessment procedure.

The plaintiff challenges those decrees on the basis that they require the payment of several administrative fees which could be considered to be disguised taxes and they create new criminal offences. The plaintiff argues that according to article 71 of the Constitutions, only the legislator can raise new taxes and create criminal offences and that therefore those two decrees are violating the constitution.

The Supreme Court followed the opinion of the plaintiff as it considered that the fees taken by the administration for the study of environmental impact assessment exceed the cost of the study for the administration and therefore can be considered to be hidden taxes. Also the Court considered that the new criminal offences where going beyond the existing criminal legal framework and that consequently the Ministry of Environment had exceeded its power. As a result, the two decrees where cancelled.