The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Ada West in the Greater Accra Region, Sampson Tetteh Kpankpa, has told a journalist to stop requesting information from the assembly using the Right to Information (RTI) Law.
According to the DCE, the journalist had no right to request any information on government intervention programmes from the Assembly.
This is contrary to the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989), which states that no public institution is exempt from being called upon to disclose or release information.
“So how can you just sit at your corner somewhere and write letters to demand government interventions, the amount that has come to the district assembly? How can you do that?
“Stop filing your letters into our files. It’s disturbing our files, please,” the DCE said in a phone call with Philip Teye Agbove.
Phillip is a journalist currently taking part in the Media Foundation for West Africa’s Next Generation Investigative Journalism (NGIJ) Fellowship.
On September 19, 2022, Philip Agbove made the RTI request to the Ada West District Assembly for information on the government’s flagship programme, One Constituency, $ 1 million.
The request asked the following questions:
- How much of the government’s $1 million dollars allocation to districts in Ghana has been made to Ada West Assembly in the Greater Accra Region so far in the years 2017,2018,2019,2020 and 2021?
- How much of the $1 million went into the purchasing of the Ada West Assembly’s ambulance?
- What other Assembly/ Government projects in Ada West has the $1 million been allocated to?
- The names and contact addresses of the contractors involved in these projects?
- What is the total cost of these projects?
- What are the various stages of development for each of the projects?
Four days after the request, Sampson Tetteh Kpankpa called the journalist on the phone and demanded to know the reason for the request and the power the journalist had to demand such information from the assembly.
“Did you really read the letter indicating that it’s in my right as a citizen and in my line of work as a journalist?” Philip asked the DCE.
“You don’t owe us that right to sit somewhere as a journalist and send us letters. You can imagine if we have 100 of these letters to answer, how many letters can we answer within a day and still continue with our work?” the DCE said.
“Honourable, have you heard about the RTI Law?”
“My brother, we cannot answer questions. We cannot answer your letter. Send your letter to the central government or RCD for them to answer your questions for you. You don’t have that right to bring us letters”
Go to court for the information
In concluding his almost five-minute call, the DCE directed the journalist to go to the court to obtain the information he requested from the assembly.
“We are not going to feed you with any information. You better go to the court or wherever. And I’m telling you that if you wait for us, we’re not going to answer any of such letters.”
The writer of this report, Philip Teye Agbove, is a Fellow of the Next Generation Investigative Journalism Fellowship at the Media Foundation for West Africa.
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