Government has laid the Right to Information (RTI) Bill in Parliament Friday in fulfilment of President Akufo-Addo’s Independence Day promise.
Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo reported the admission of the Bill before the House was attended by fierce disagreement between the Majority and Minority leaders.
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, raised issues about the laying of the RTI Bill, citing some procedural breaches which he said will have to be addressed.
The Bill was supposed to be gazetted at the Assembly Press before sending it to the House but this was not done.
“This has not been done so it is a breach of the constitution,” he told Speaker, Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye.
But Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, dismissed Mr Iddrisu’s argument, saying the Bill does not need to be gazetted before it is laid in the House.
After the arguments by the two leaders, Professor Oquaye agreed with the Majority leader and referred the Bill to a joint Communications as well as the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committees to work on it.
Laying of the RTI Bill comes days after civil society groups mounted pressure on the government to lay it before the House rises on March 23.
The RTI, when passed, is expected to help the Special Prosecutor, the media and civil societies to uncover issues of corruption in the public sector.
The Bill was first drafted 22 years ago under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and has since then suffered several back and forths.
In 2016, the bill came close to being passed by Parliament after the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost in both Parliamentary and Presidential elections.
The then minority New Patriotic Party (NPP), however, raised concerns as to how the NDC was making key national decisions after it lost the elections.
Majority Leader, Mr Mensah Bonsu, who was then the leader of the minority, promised a walk out of he and his members, should the NDC attempt to pass the bill in that state.
Source: Ghana| Myjoyonline.com| Oswald K Azumah