The Coalition on the Right to Information Ghana (RTI Coalition) has said, the Electoral Commission’s (EC) refusal to allow access to information requested by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashaiman constituency, Ernest Norgbey goes contrary to the RTI law.
The coalition noted that, the excuse given by the lawyers of the EC, Amenuvor & Associates, for their refusal to provide requested information disregards the core mandate of the RTI law.
“The excuse that the EC is unable to provide the information sought by a citizen of Ghana because ‘the fees and charges applicable are yet to be determined in accordance with the law,’ falls flat in the face of Section 27(1) of Act 989 which provides for the only reasons why access to information can be refused.”
Section 27(1) of Act 989 provides as follows;
“A public institution may refuse access to information if
(a) the application is manifestly frivolous or vexatious; or
(b) the information is an exempt information”
The coalition argued that, the reason given by the EC to reject the request based on “unsettled fees” doesn’t satisfy the conditions given by the RTI act. More so, Mr Norbgey’s request need not be charged a fee for being in the public interest.
“The EC’s reason for refusal of access does not satisfy any of the two conditions above. Additionally, we are minded by the fact that the Act provides in Section 75(2)(c) that a fee or charge shall not be payable for “the reproduction of information which is in the public interest.”
We consider Mr. Norgbey’s request as one in the public interest, and hence see the refusal of access as a missed opportunity for the election management body to strengthen its credibility and impartiality.”
They therefore called on the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to see to the establishment of the RTI Commission and appoint the first members of the Board of the Commission without any further delay.
Source: Jonas Danquah || ghananewsonline.com.gh