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Human Rights Initiative urges Mahama to submit Right to Information roadmap

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Mahama-at-Mo-Ibrahim-Foun dationThe Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), has called on President John Dramani Mahama to submit a roadmap on speedy passage of the country’s Right to Information (RTI) Bill at the on-going global anti-corruption summit.

The human right body said the summit presents an opportunity for President Mahama to tell Ghanaians and the global community the level of government commitment to fight corruption and guarantee quicker passage of the RTI Bill into law.

In a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Friday it said: “As His Excellency makes further commitments at the Global Summit to eradicate corruption at home, it is our hope that he will also present a roadmap to the world and to Ghanaians on how he plans to fulfil governments open governance partnership commitment to engage parliament for the speedy passage of the RTI Bill before June 2016.

It said under the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Initiative, Ghana has for the second time made commitments in its National Action Plan to pass the RTI Bill, which has been in Parliament since 2013.

Specifically, on transparency, the government on behalf of the people of Ghana committed among other things, to lobby Parliament to pass the Bill by the end of, 2013. But three years on, the Bill is yet to be passed the statement indicated.

The Bill currently at the consideration stage has thoroughly been reviewed by the Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs since December 2014, making it a very robust and effective tool for fighting corruption.

“Even though the Bill has gone through the first and second readings and has been referred to the consideration stage, parliament has hastened very slowly with the consideration processes.”

There is currently no clear indication as to how parliament is planning to ensure that the Bill is passed before the elections in November, 2016, it noted.

The statement said there is also nothing to show that the Executive is lobbying or engaging Parliament, as it committed to do in its OGP action plans, to ensure that the Bill is passed before June 2016.

On May 12, world leaders met in London, for the Global Anti-Corruption Summit to show case their commitment to the fight against corruption both locally and internationally.

“Ghana’s participation at the upcoming summit will mark yet another important step for the government of Ghana to demonstrate its commitment to the fight against corruption,” it explained.

CHRI called on President Mahama to make concrete commitments on the passage of an effective and efficient right to information legislation in Ghana.

The statement said the availability of the means for the public to scrutinise activities of public institutions and private bodies performing public functions through guaranteed access to information helps in the fight against corruption and promotes transparency.

“Mr President has on several platforms indicated that when the Bill gets to his table he would sign it without delay.”

Source: GNA

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