Parliament has passed the law spelling out the various fees to be paid by persons seeking Information under the Right to Information law (RTI).
Per the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous provisions Act 2022 (ACT 1080), persons seeking Information are to pay 27 pesewas for every photocopy of A4 size of information.
Section 75 of the Right to Information Act, 2019, (ACT 989) requires applicants to pay the fee approved by Parliament.
“An applicant seeking access to information under this Act shall pay the fee or charge approved by Parliament in accordance with the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act,2009 (Act 793).”
The RTI Act (Act 989) is a law that seeks to promote transparency and accountability by empowering the citizens to access information on central and local governments as well as non-governmental organizations, which are publicly funded.
The Act was passed by Parliament in March 2019 and assented to by the President in May 2019.
However, more than a year into its implementation, accessing information under the law remains a major challenge.
The reluctance of heads of many public institutions to grant requests for information is negatively impacting on the smooth implementation of the Act.
In addition to this, some public institutions resorted to charging huge monies for release of information due to the absence of the Fees and Charges Act.
Affected applicants had to resort to court or the RTI Commission to compel the recalcitrant institutions to release information.
For instance, he noted that, out of 157 requests for information applications received by public institutions, 130 were approved while 10 were rejected, one internal review was granted, three internal reviews also rejected by the institution, while one of the review applications ended up in court.
The Commission also says it has successfully negotiated with the Attorney General’s Department to grant it powers to prosecute offences under the Act and will soon commence prosecution of heads of public institutions who fail to give out information requested.
The Attorney General has further elected to train selected staff of the Commission as prosecutors to seamlessly prosecute offences under the Act
The Commission is also finalizing the setting up of a tribunal to adjudicate matters before it and therefore needs funds to furnish its tribunal unit to enable it to hold its first public hearing on matters that are before it.
To deepen the implementation of the Act, the Commission is currently engaging the Ministry of Information on a draft legislative instrument to enhance the operationalisation of the Act.
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