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Ghana President assents RTI Law

Today May 21, 2019, the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assented the Right to Information Law which the country’s Parliament passed on March 26, 2019.

The bill which has been on the drawing board for 20 years has been touted as the panacea for not only a free press, which Ghana is reputed for, but that it would lead to accessing of important information that is necessary for transparency, accountability and deepening of the country’s democratic culture.

Before signing the Bill, the President hinted on Twitter that he would do so later in the morning.

Despite a Constitutional guarantee of access to information, as some cases of legal demands for information have shown, for instance in cases such as the demand of the report of the investigation of the rebranding and re-spraying of buses in 2016. In that case the government paid a total of over GH¢3.6 million (GH¢3,649,044.75), approximately about $1 million to a company known as Smartty’s for the job, but upon the public’s expression of outrage and demand for accountability, the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah ordered the Attorney General to investigate the matter. The Minister of Transport, Dzifa Attivor subsequently resigned.

Two groups, OccupyGhana and Citizen Movement Ghana went to court and demanded a release of the report.

On April 13, 2016, a High Court presided over by His Lordship Anthony K. Yeboah in making his judgement, ordered the Ministry of Transport and the Attorney General’s Department to furnish the groups with all the requisite documents on the bus rebranding.

The implementation of the RTI Law however, will begin in January 2020 due to financial constraints, the government has said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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