President Akufo-Addo has charged the newly constituted seven-member board of the Right to Information (RTI) Commission to do everything within its power to ensure the proper functioning of the Commission, in accordance with the RTI Act 2019 (Act 970).
Addressing members of the Commission after swearing them in at a ceremony at Jubilee House in Accra today (19 October 2020), the president said the board members have been chosen carefully from among people who have proved that they are individuals of integrity. He urged them to bring their rich experience to bear on the Commission’s work to make it a success.
“The law also requires you as board members to ensure the proper functioning of the Commission,” President Akufo-Addo said. “The diversity of the composition of this board must come to bear on the decisions that the Commission, in resolving complaints and other matters, may come to.”
The government’s commitment
The president further said that the steps his government has taken towards realising the Right to Information law shows once again its determination to adhere to principles of accountable governance and entrenched democracy and to fight corruption vigorously.
“I assure the Commission that the government is committed to providing it with the requisite resources needed for its full operation,” the president said.
Response of chair
Justice K A Ofori-Atta (retired), chairperson of the Commission, responded on behalf of his colleague board members.
He thanked the president for the honour done them in giving them their appointment.
He further pledged on behalf of the board that members will discharge their duties in line with the law which established the Commission.
The board of the Right to Information Commission is chaired by Justice K A Ofori-Atta (retired).
Elizabeth Asare is the deputy chairperson.
The other members are Yaw Sarpong Boateng (executive secretary), Victoria Susuawu, Dr Edith Dankwa, Nana Kwame Duah and David Oppon-Kusi.
The Right to Information (RTI) Act (Act 970) became law in Ghana on receiving presidential assent on 21 May 2019.
Parliament had passed the Right to Information (RTI) Bill on 26 March 2019. Implementation of the RTI Act came into effect in January 2020.
The law will provide for the operationalisation of the constitutional right to information held by the public, as well as certain private institutions, subject to exemptions which are necessary and consistent with the protection of the public interest in a democratic society.
The law seeks to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs and to provide for related matters.
The RTI Act was first drafted in 1999 and reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007, but was only presented to Parliament in 2010. However, it could not be passed because of many recommendations for amendment. It was brought back to the Sixth Parliament but, again, could not be passed before the expiration of that parliament on 6 January 2016.
Moves to get the bill passed gained increased momentum in 2017 following the formation of the Media Coalition on RTI. The coalition, with support from other civil society organisations over the past 11 months, piled pressure on Parliament to enact the bill.
Click on the link below to listen to President Akufo-Addo.
Wilberforce Asare / Asaase Radio