Over 1000 RTI requests filed, GH₵1.3m penalty imposed
The Access to Information Division of the Information Services Department had, so far, received over 1000 RTI requests from the public since the law became operational in 2020.
Out of the over 1000 RTI requests, 838 have been granted, 47 have been rejected with 45 of them transferred.
The requests mainly came from media practitioners, civil society organisations, lecturers and students in the tertiary institutions.
The Greater Accra Region topped the number of requests made so far with 89%, followed by the Ashanti Region with nine per cent, 1.28% by Bono Region, 0.13% by Oti Region, 1.28% by Weston Region and 0.38% by the Central Region.
The Right to Information Commission (RTIC) has so far, imposed GH₵1.3 million penalty on 14 institutions that refused to comply with its orders to grant applicants access to Information requested.
Some 478 public institutions have established information units and have been assigned designated RTI officers to facilitate the implementation of the law.
Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah announced this in Accra in an update on the progress made so far regarding the implementation of the RTI Act.
He also disclosed that the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice has granted prosecutorial powers to the Commission to sanction institutions that refused to comply with the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989).
The prosecutorial powers were granted to the Commission in September 2022 through an Executive Instrument.
He said the RTI Commission is fully backed by law to sanction institutions that did not comply with the RTI law and thus, urged the various public and private entities to be compliant with the Act to avoid sanctions.
Nkrumah said two satellite offices of the Access to Information Division of the Information Services Department would be opened in Kumasi and Sunyani this year to enhance access to information across the country.
Additionally, he announced that an Online Records Management System will be operationalised to enable applicants to apply for Information online as well as to increase efficiency.
“There has been appreciable level of public education and sensitization by both the Access to Information Division of the ISD and the RTI Commission, and we need more of such sensitization to increase public awareness about the RTI law,” Nkrumah said.
“The RTI law empowers citizens to demand information from public institutions, and we encourage all Ghanaians to exercise this right. We believe that the law will go a long way in promoting transparency, accountability, and good governance in the country,” he said.
For the RTI law to be effective, he said, three organs including the Access to Information Division of the ISD, the public and the Regulatory body (RTI Commission) should work together to achieve the objectives of the Act.
The Information Minister said the effective use of the RTI Act will further strengthen the country’s democracy.
The Right to Information law was passed by Ghana’s Parliament on March 26, 2019 and received Presidential assent on May 21, 2019.
The law became operational on January 1, 2020, to enable the citizens to hold government and all public institutions accountable and ensure a high level of transparency in governance of the country.