Ghana Police fined GH¢50,000 for denying access to information

Dr George Akuffo Dampare IGP Inspector General of Police, Dr George Affufo Dampare

Mon, 28 Feb 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

RTI says Police denied Fourth Estate access to information

Police have 14 days to pay GH¢50,000 fine, RTI

Police should furnish Fourth Estate with information in 14 days, RTI

The Ghana Police Service (GPS) has been fined GH¢50,000 by the Right to Information (RTI) Commission for denying The Fourth Estate access to information.

According to the Commission, the police are being fined because they failed to respond to a request by the Commission for an explanation on the matter, thefourthestategh.com reported.

The RTI Commission asked the police to pay the fine in 14 days and also to furnish The Fourth Estate with the information it requested in 14 days.

“Based on the Respondent’s failure to make decisions on the Applicant’s application lodged with it, as well as its failure to respond to the Commission’s letter received by it, as the administrative penalty of GH¢50,000 is imposed on the Respondent [Ghana Police Service) and this shall be payable to the Commission not later than 14 days after the date of receipt of this decision.

“The penalty so imposed shall attract an additional default penalty rate of 10% on the principal penalty sum of GH¢ 60,000 in the event of default for any additional 14 days thereafter,” the commission was quoted to have said.

A reporter of The Fourth Estate, Evans Aziamor-Mensah, made an RTI application, on August 19, 2021, to request information on budgetary allocations given to the police from 2013 to 2020.

The police failed to reply within the required 14 days and even a petition to the Inspector-General of Police yielded no response.

Ghana’s Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989) was passed into law in September 2019 after over two decades of political innuendos.

Though Ghana’s constitution stipulates the right of citizens to access public records, it was quite a logrolling effort trying to find any records pertaining to the government’s activities. This Act thereby gives individuals a statutory right to have access to a huge amount of information held by government institutions and public bodies.

Under the Act, anyone of any nationality, and living anywhere in the world, can make a written request for information and expect a response within 20 working days. The public authority will be obliged to meet that request subject to a number of specified exemptions and certain practical and financial constraints.

The Act imposes a substantial burden on heads of public institutions to ensure proper recordkeeping practices to meet the requests from the public. The primary impact of the Act will not only be on public institutions but will have a knock-on effect on private companies dealing with public institutions.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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