Participants at a day’s forum on the Right to Information (RTI) Bill in Tamale in the Northern Region have recommended the establishment of an independent constitutional body to administer the Bill after it has been passed.
They were of the opinion that if the Attorney-General is made responsible for the administration of the Bill as envisaged in its current form, there might be a conflict of interest, suggesting, instead, that the Act could be administered by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) since according to them (participants) the RTI is a human rights issue.
The participants also suggested that the Bill should cover private companies, especially the mining companies since their activities were impacting negatively on the environment and called for a definite time frame within which the Bill should be passed into law.
They participants were also not happy with the numerous exemptions in the draft Bill, which, they said, could provide a cover for government and public officers to withhold information and expressed displeasure about the low publicity given to the event.
In his introductory remarks, Mr Twumasi Appiah, Chairman of the Communications Committee of Parliament, said the Bill was to provide the people with accurate information as required in a democratic and free society and also help to reduce corruption.
He urged the participants to give constructive ideas and suggestions so that they could be embodied in the final Bill to make it stand the test of time.
The forum was organized by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to solicit ideas and suggestions to be factored into the final RTI Bill.
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