Private legal practitioner, Samson Lardy Anyenini, is dissatisfied with the unregulated fees charged for acquiring information from state departments and agencies.
According to him, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has again been charged an amount of ¢6,000 for a fresh request they made at the Minerals Commission demanding information regarding the fight against illegal mining.
“The Commission is demanding some ¢6000 – that is $1,000 – for information on each request about licenses it has issued, revoked and money made from annual monitoring fees for excavators,” he said on Saturday.
This comes days after an Accra High Court directed the National Communication Authority (NCA) to accept ¢1,500 from the MFWA for the information it requested regarding the number of radio stations operating in the country as at the end of the third quarter of 2020.
Since the Right to Information Law passage in 2019, concerns have been prevalent over how state agencies have gone about its implementation.
Citizen’s quest to access information has sometimes been met with resistance by state officials charging monies to provide information, with the latest victims being the MFWA.
In this instance, the Foundation had prayed the High Court, among other reliefs, to declare that the amount of ¢2,000 demanded by the NCA to generate the information constitutes constructive denial, refusal, failure or neglect, and breach of Applicant’s right to information under Article 21(1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
But the court was not convinced and slashed only ¢500 from the NCA’s proposed amount.
Though the RTI law allows for some fees to be charged, it requires that this is done in line with the Fees and Charges Act but Parliament is yet to set approved amounts.
Speaking on Joy News’ Newsfile, Saturday, Samson Lardy Anyenini shared his thoughts regarding the development, citing some public officers for making “nonsense of the law”.
Meanwhile, the Media Foundation for West Africa says it is considering filing an appeal against an Accra High Court’s verdict backing the NCA’s decision to charge fees before it, releases among others, information on the shutdown and status of some radio stations in the country.
Executive Director, Sulemana Braimah explained his outfit will wait for the full ruling if the court arguing that “we will certainly take next appropriate steps which could include the possibility of appealing against the decision,” Mr Braimah indicated.
However, Executive Secretary of RTI Commission, Yaw Sarpong Boateng says the passage of the fees and charges will lay to rest the existing disagreement.
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