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Another Ofori-Atta has been appointed into the Akufo-Addo government.
The retired High Court Judge, Justice K.A. Ofori-Atta, is to serve as the Board Chairman of the Right to Information Commission by President Akufo-Addo.
The board was inaugurated by the President at a ceremony at Jubilee House on Monday, October 19, 2020.
Justice Ofori-Atta’s blood ties to the President and many of the Ofori-Attas in the government, including Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, is not known, but his appointment is likely to fuel another wave of the “family and friends” label which President Akufo-Addo is being accused of.
Many of the president’s direct cousins are ministers of state and heads of agencies, departments, as well as board members.
Yaw Sarpong Boateng, a lawyer, is to serve as the Executive Secretary of RTI Commission; he will be responsible for coordinating the 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 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 2nd January 2020,” he said.
Since then, the president stated, the Ministry of Information, has been working hard to ensure a 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 the president, 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, amongst 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 the 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 the proper functioning of the Commission. The diversity in the composition of this Board must come to bear on the decisions of the Commission in resolving complaints and other matters that may come it. You are deemed to be men and women of integrity.”
Congratulating the Members of the Committee, he reiterated that “the steps we have taken towards the realisation of the Right to Information Law demonstrates, once again, the determination of my administration to adhere to the principles of accountable governance, entrench democracy, and vigorously fight corruption.”
He assured the Commission of Government’s commitment to providing it with the requisite resources needed for its full operation.
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