General News of Wednesday, 25 March 2020
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashaiman Ernest Norgbey has sued the Electoral Commission for refusing to furnish him with information on record of proceedings for the procurement of new electoral equipment.
Mr Norgbey had written to the EC to demand information on how the Commission contracted the services of Dr. Ofori-Adjei, IT Consultant and Mr A. Akrofi, Procurement Consultant; and whether the said procurement was done in accordance with Part 6 of the Public Procurement Act.
The Jean Mensa led EC through its lawyers denied the request arguing that the fees and charges applicable for the said information is yet to be determined in accordance with the law.
In a motion on notice for the enforcement of the fundamental Human Rights pursuant to Article 33(1) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 67 CI 47 is seeking “a declaration that the refusal, failure of neglect of the Respondent to furnish applicant with information on the matters specified in paragraph 9 of his affidavit accompanying the instant application is without any lawful or rational basis and/or amounts to violation and/or a threatened violation, of the Applicant’s right to information guaranteed by article 2(1)(f) of the Constitution.
“An order of this Honourable court enforcing the Applicant’s right to information guaranteed by article 21(1)(f) of the constitution by compelling the Respondent to furnish the Applicant with information on the matters specified in paragraph 9 and 14 of of the affidavit accompanying the instant application subject to the payment of reasonable fees or express as may be determined by this Honourable court,” the motion stated
The MP per a letter dated February 3, 2020, through his lawyer, Martin Kpebu addressed to the Chairperson of the EC, had requested in hard copy form or on a flash drive, the record of the proceedings for the said procurement.
But the EC responding to the MP through its lawyers, Amenuvor, and Associates acknowledged receipt of the MP’s request as stated in the Act.
“Our client acknowledges your clients right under both the constitution and the Right to Information, 2019 (Act 989) as you rightly stated.”
The commission further made known reasons why the request could not be granted at this point by drawing the attention of the MP to Section 75(1) of Act 989.
“An applicant seeking to access information under this Act shall pay the fee or charge approved by Parliament in accordance with the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2009 (Act 793).”
“As ready and willing as our client is to provide the information requested by your client, it is not immediately able to do so because the fees and charges applicable are yet to be determined in accordance with law,” the EC’s lawyers explained.