RTI Commission To Prosecute Defaulters
The Right To Information (RTI) Commission is lacing its boots to commence the prosecution of defaulting relevant institutions that fail to provide information to the public upon request or commit any offence that impedes the implementation of the Act.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Yaw Sarpong Boateng, who revealed this on JoyNews, said the Office of the Attorney General has already trained staff of the Commission to carry out the prosecution, adding that the process would soon be sealed for the trained persons to commence work.
“We already had access to information as a right under the 1992 Constitution; what we did not have was the processes for activating that right – that is what this law has come to make clear so that if I go into a public institution, you cannot ask me by what means am I coming for that information,” Mr Boateng said.
He indicated that “We engaged with the Attorney General’s Department [and] he was magnanimous enough to give us that prosecutorial fiat for us to prosecute our own offences because, already, the Attorney General is overwhelmed with cases.”
“It has trained many of our staff to become prosecutors and we hope that very soon the process would be sealed and we can initiate prosecution from the Right to Information Commission. The training ended in August; so now, we have the men to actually initiate the process of prosecution,” Mr Boateng added.
The Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989), is an Act of Parliament that provides for the implementation of the constitutional right of persons to access official information held by public institutions (and relevant private institutions that receive public resources or perform public functions), subject to the exemptions that are necessary and consistent with the protection of public interest in Ghana.
President Akufo-Addo assented to RTI Act, 2019 (ACT 989) Act on May 21, 2019, and its application began in January 2020 and is binding on all public sector institutions. The Act applies to information that exists before and after the commencement of the Act.
Some members of the public have in recent times complained about the difficulties they have to go through to access information despite the existence of the Act.