President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has inaugurated the Governing Board of the Right to Information Commission in a ceremony at Jubilee House, seat of the nation’s presidency.
The Commission is chaired by Mr. Justice K. A. Ofori-Atta, a retired High Court Judge of good repute; with its Executive Secretary being Mr. Yaw Sarpong Boateng, a distinguished lawyer who will be responsible for coordinating administrative activities of the Commission.
Other members of the Board are Mrs. Elizabeth Asare (Deputy Chairperson); Ms. Victoria D. E. Susuawu (Member); Dr. Edith Dankwa ((Member); Nana Kwame Duah (Member); and Mr. David Oppon-Kusi (Member).
Inaugurating the Commission, President Akufo-Addo noted that the journey to implementing the Right to Information bill, which was first drafted by the Institute of Economic Affairs, began in 1999.
“Having undergone several revisions, and with successive governments lacking the political will to pass it, on 21st May 2019 I gave assent to its enactment – with the law becoming operational on the 2nd of January 2020,” he said.
Since then, the president stated, the Ministry of Information has been working hard to ensure smooth implementation of the statute.
“Information officers have been recruited, trained and deployed to the Ministries and Departments of government to handle the consequences of the law. In furtherance of our efforts, the RTI law demands that a Commission be established to promote and enhance access by the citizenry,” he added.
The seven-member Board, according to President Akufo-Addo, is mandated to resolve complaints through negotiation, conciliation, mediation or arbitration; dismiss an application for access to information if it considers the application to be frivolous or vexatious; and to issue specific directions in matters concerning confidential information, minors and other circumstances which the Commission considers appropriate, among others.
“As an independent body established to safeguard the constitutional right to information, your work must be guided, at all times, by respect for the rule of law, adherence to freedom of expression, and an unequivocal attachment to justice. You have been identified as persons of truth and integrity, and as persons who are familiar with considerations of the law, and I am confident that you will discharge your duties efficiently and effectively,” the president said.
He continued: “The law also requires you, as Board Members, to ensure proper functioning of the Commission. The diversity in composition of this Board must come to bear on the decisions of the Commission in resolving complaints and other matters that may come to it. You are deemed to be men and women of integrity”.
Congratulating Members of the Committee, he reiterated: “The steps we have taken toward realising the Right to Information law demonstrates, once again, the determination of my administration to adhere to the principles of accountable governance, to entrench democracy, and to vigorously fight corruption”.
He assured the Commission of government’s commitment to providing it with the requisite resources needed for its full operation.