23 Public Institutions Fined GH¢1m for Violating RTI Law

Twenty-three (23) public institutions that failed to comply with the Right To Information Act, 2019 (Act 989), have been slapped with fines amounting to GH¢1,000,000.00 by the Right to Information (RTI) Commission.

The fine was recorded during the 2023 reporting year. It was considered administrative penalties by the RTI Commission, an action meant to deter public institutions for non-compliance with the RTI law.

Inthe said year under review, the RTI Commission also made recoveries of administrative penalties, amounting to GH¢2,043,571.44.

This includes administrative penalties imposed in the preceding years of 2022 and 2021.

Minister for Information, Fatimatu Abubakar, addressing Parliament on the RTI implementation

This was contained in the report on the implementation of the RTI Act, 2019 (Act 989) for the year 2019, which was presented to Parliament by the Minister of Information, Fatimatu Abubakar, ESQ. on Friday, June 28, 2024.

Her presentation to the legislature on the activities of public institutions and the Right to Information (RTI) Commission for the period January to December 2023 was in accordance with Section 77(4) of Act 989.

She told the legislature at a plenary sitting that the successful implementation of the RTI law in Ghana partly depends on the demand for access to information by individuals, institutions, or groups. However, in some limited circumstances as outlined in Section 5 to 17 of Act 989, public institutions also have a right to exempt some classes of information from access under the RTI law.

“The RTI Act, 2019 has clearly identified and classified some information as exempt which calls for safeguards, including those related to national security, public safety, and / or individual privacy. The RTI Commission, however, as an independent and impartial body, has also been resourced to deal with any unwarranted denials by public institutions”, she noted.

During the year under review, 322 out of an expected 683 public institutions submitted annual reports to the RTI Commission. That means a majority of 361 public institutions failed to comply with the provisions of the RTI law, a situation the Minister considers “totally unacceptable”.

“The Ministry of Information strongly urges the RTI Commission to impose administrative penalties against public institutions that failed, according to Section 71(2)(6) of the RTI Act, 2019”, she advised.

She noted that of the complying 322 institutions, 173 received applications for 1,749.

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), she added, processed the highest number of requests, amounting to 115.

“Out of the 1,749 requests received by the various public institutions, 1,225 were approved by the information officers of the public institutions representing 70% of the total number of applications received. The total number of applications rejected for varied reasons by the various public institutions was 281, representing 16% of the total requests for information”, she narrated.

Key among the reasons for rejecting applicants were exempt information; information not in the custody of the public institution; and number of applications transferred, referred and deferred.

By Stephen Odoi-Larbi


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here