The Right to Information Commission has imposed a fine of GH¢50,000 on the Ghana Police Service (GPS) for denying The Fourth Estate access to information.
This punitive measure resulted from the police administration’s refusal to respond to the RTI Commission’s request for an explanation. The Ghana Police Service has 14 days to pay the fine or risk paying a penalty of 10% of the amount for every 14 days thereafter.
The RTI Commission has also ordered the Ghana Police Service to furnish The Fourth Estate with the information it requested within 14 days.
The Commission’s ruling is contained in a document dated February 23, 2022, addressed to The Inspector-General of the Ghana Police Service and Evans Aziamor-Mensah of The Fourth Estate, who petitioned the Commission.
“Based on the Respondent’s failure to make decisions on the Applicant’s application lodged with it, as well as its failure to respond to the Commission’s letter received by it, as administrative penalty of GH¢50,000 is imposed on the Respondent [Ghana Police Service) and this shall be payable to the Commission not later than 14 days after the date of receipt of this decision. The penalty so imposed shall attract an additional default penalty rate of 10% on the principal penalty sum of GH¢ 60,000 in the event of default for any additional 14 days thereafter,” the RTI Commission said.
This is not the first time the Commission has imposed a fine on a state agency for failing to provide information to The Fourth Estate.
The Fourth Estate’s RTI application to the Ghana Police Service
On August 19, 2021, The Fourth Estate’s Evans Aziamor-Mensah made an RTI application to Ghana Police Service requesting the following information:
- Budgetary allocations by the Government of Ghana to the Ghana Police Service for the years 2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019, and 2020.
- The actual amounts disbursed from the budgetary allocation or received by the Ghana Police Service for the same years indicated in point one above
After 14 days, when the Ghana Police Service failed to respond to the application, The Fourth Estate made an internal appeal to the Inspector-General of Police, who heads the Service, in line with the RTI Law, Act 989.
On November 15, 2021, The Fourth Estate petitioned the RTI Commission after the Inspector-General of Police did not respond to the internal appeal.
No response to RTI Commission
On November 18, 2021, the RTI Commission wrote to the Ghana Police Service requesting the Service to furnish the Commission with the justification for the refusal to grant the Applicant (The Fourth Estate) access to the information requested.
The Commission said the Ghana Police Service “failed, neglected, and/or refused to respond to the Commission’s request for justification” as of the time of this ruling.
“The Commission deprecates the posture of the Respondent in the instant case and hereby makes it clear that, under Act 989, there is no public institution that is exempt from being called upon to disclose or release information; it is certain categories of information that are exempt from disclosure. Even those categories of information, the exemption may not be absolute, in some circumstances.”
The RTI Commission also stated that it did not find the information The Fourth Estate had requested as exempt information under the RTI law.
The RTI Commission concluded that the Ghana Police Service should release the information to The Fourth Estate at “a reasonable charge of Gh¢ 1.80 per sheet, where it is being released in hard copy, either through printing or photocopying”.
If the information is to be emailed, the Commission ordered the Ghana Police Service to apply a charge of GH¢ 1.90.