The Information Services Department (ISD) of the Oforikrom Municipal Assembly, as part of the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act (ACT 989), has extended sensitisation exercise on the Act for the Heads of Department and Units of the Assembly.
The aim of the exercise, which happened on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, was to introduce key areas of ACT 989 to the Heads of Department.
The Right to Information Officer, Mr. Emmanuel Asare, in a presentation, stated that the RTI law was very important because it would help build a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs.
Addressing a question asked by the Transport Officer, Mr. Clifford Yankson, as to why shouldn’t the officer of whose office information is being sought to ask the reason why an applicant needs such information, the Head of the Information Services Department, Mrs. Josephine Adubea Larbi, responded that it is within the interpretation of the Act for an applicant not to tell the reason for requesting for information.
“Because it is my right and the law states that I have the right to that information. So when I write to the appropriate quarters and I demand for that information, once the information is not exempt information, I have the right to the information.” She explained.
Mr. Asare highlighted that the law provided a solid legal framework for access to information, a clear application procedure, a clear time lines for response to request and also provided for a proactive disclosure of information.
He explained that the process of requesting for information entailed: the picking up of a standard access to information request form from a public institution, filling the form and submitting it to the information unit or registry of the public institution. This was after the Internal Auditor of the Assembly, Mr. John Nsowa Ocrah had to know whom must an applicant address the letter to.
He added that the application form would be then received and the applicant notified in with 14 working days after submission.
In a closing remark, Mr. Asare, the RTI Officer, indicated that with the implementation of the Right to Information Act, access to information is guaranteed and that applicants who felt that they had been wrongly denied access to information have the right to first seek internal review and if still not satisfied with the decision can appeal at the RTI Commission which is an external body mandated to promote, protect and enforce the RTI.