‘No public institution is exempt from application of RTI law’

Yaw Sarpong Boateng, the Executive Secretary of the Right To Information (RTI) Commission, has stated that no one or public institution is exempt from the application of the Right To Information (RTI) law even if the person works at the National Security or the Presidency,

“The information at the bosom of officials in public institutions belong to the people hence, they should be given if requested and this is what the 1992 Constitution and also the RTI law demand,” he noted.

Mr Boateng indicated that except the national archives and the museums which actually gave out the information, no one was exempted which also meant the Presidency and National Security were not exempted, except it was not every information that could be put out.

“The fact that you are national security does not exempt you from application of the law because information belongs to the people that is what the Constitution recognises, if you do not recognise the RTI law the Commission will soon commence prosecution of persons who commit various offences that impede access to Information.

“The RTI Act creates various offences including criminalising instances where information officers fail to perform their functions under the Act, the Attorney General’s Department has already trained staff of the Commission to undertake prosecution and I am hopeful the processes will soon be sealed for the trained persons to commence work,” Mr Boateng hinted.

According to him, the Commission already had access to information as right under the Constitution; what it did not have was the processes for activating that right which the law had made clear.

“We engaged with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, he was magnanimous enough to give us prosecutorial fiat for us to prosecute our own offences because he is overwhelmed with cases, the Department has trained our staff to become prosecutors, we hope soon the processes will be sealed and we can initiate prosecution from the Right to Information Commission.

“In the case of the presidency, if information being requested is yet to be utilised by Cabinet or by the president and the vice president, person seeking it will probably have to wait for it to be used first by the presidency otherwise, it will prejudice processes for the deliberation,” Mr Boateng revealed.

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