The Right to Information (RTI) Commission has imposed a GH¢ 30,000 fine on the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in Accra for its failure to make available information requested from it by Alex Antwi, a private citizen.
The Commission held that Mr Antwi met all the requirements under the RTI law as far as applying for information from a public institution was concerned, where the applicant was willing to pay for the cost of printing the information or sending by email in a PDF format.
It also contended that the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital management had also refused to comply with the Commission’s directives to release the said information to the applicant after he had written to the Commission for redress about the refusal of the KBTH management to release said information.
The RTI Commission in its ruling, has therefore, ordered the Chief Executive of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (Respondent) to ensure that, Mr Antwi- applicant was provided with the pieces of information requested under section 71 (2) (f) of Act 989 within 14 days of the ruling dated February 23, 2022 with true certified copy signed by the Executive Secretary of the RTI Commission, Yaw Sarpong Boateng.
The Commission’s ruling made available to the Ghanaian Times was that the Applicant in a letter dated July 5, 2021, requested for certain pieces of information pertaining to contract tender from the Respondent.
The requested information about the tender included photocopy of the evaluation report, photocopy of the evaluation report on the last procurement made for same items captured under the above tender.
Photocopies of documents used to support the tender by participating suppliers to include a Valid Business Registration Documents, Valid SSNIT Certificate, Valid Public Procurement Authority Certificate and record of date and time of submission of tender by bidders.
These, the RTI Commission in its ruling said the hospital management failed to supply the Applicant even after the Commission had written to the management to do so.
“The information ordered to be released to the Applicant under paragraph (a) supra shall attract a reasonable charge of GH¢1.80 per sheet, where it is being released in hard copy, either through printing or photocopying. If the information is to be emailed in PDF format, a charge of GH¢ 1.90 is to be applied.
It was the case that on September 15, 2021, the Right to Information Commission received from Mr Alex Antwi, a letter asking the Commission for redress of his complaint against Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in respect of the matter.
The request did not receive response from the Respondent and so the Applicant deemed same as denied, therefore, applied to the Minister of Health on 28th July 2021 for redress of the denial.
In a letter dated 13th August 2021 and signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health for the Minister of Health, the Ministry of Health referred the Applicant back to the Respondent (Korle Bu Teaching Hospital) on the ground that the information sought by the Applicant did not pertain to the Ministry of Health.
On August 19, 2021, the Applicant wrote back to the Chief Executive Officer of the Respondent institution drawing his attention to the referral from the Ministry of Health. The Applicant, still, did not receive any response from the Respondent, hence his application to the Commission.
The Commission wrote to the Respondent in a letter dated September 19, 2021, and received on September 22, 2021, asking for a justification for denying the Applicant’s request for information.
BY NORMAN COOPER