FixTheCountry Welcomes Sanction Against Kan Dapaa
Pressure group FixTheCountry has welcomed and commended the Right To Information (RTI) Commission for the sanction against the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaa.
The group filed an RTI request two years ago with subsequent follow-ups in 2022- about the arrest and alleged torture of two journalists of Citi fm- seeking access to 11 classes of information including aspects of the Standard Operating Manual of the National Security Ministry, with respect to the arrest of citizens by operatives wearing masks; and the torture of journalists.
It also sought a video of the interrogation of the Journalist (Caleb Kudah); and the report of a purported committee that the Ministry claimed was set up to investigate the incident.
But Kan Dapaa, in his Ministerial capacity, failed to honour the RTI request, prompting a complaint by the group in April 2022 to the RTI Commission.
“On 28/02/2023, we received a letter from the RTI Commission informing us that it has ruled in our favor and ordered the National Security Ministry to provide us with the requested information within fourteen days. The Commission also fined the Minister 50,000 Ghana cedis for failing to respond to us”, the group said in a statement.
According to the group, the decision of the Commission was to the effect that it found no reasonable justification for the ministry’s failure to respond to the request.
It, therefore, welcomed the Commission and commended it for delivering on its mandate “impartially and effectively”.
Background To Arrest Of The Citi FM Journalists (Source: Citinews)
Police officers on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, arrested Caleb Kudah, a broadcast journalist with Citi FM and Citi TV.
According to the police, he was arrested for filming at the premises of the National Security Ministry, a restricted security zone.
About seven heavily armed officers subsequently stormed the premises of Citi FM/Citi TV in an attempt to arrest, Zoe Abu-Baidoo, another broadcast journalist with the media house, whom they claimed had received files from Caleb Kudah.
In an attempt to arrest Zoe after tagging her as Caleb Kudah’s accomplice, the heavily armed officers besieged the premises of Citi FM/Citi TV in three different vehicles.
While at the premises, the officers tried to overpower Zoe, who at the time was standing at the company’s car park.
Zoe Abu-Baidoo subsequently bolted and reported the issue to her superiors after sensing danger because some of the officers tried to capture her. The incident shocked the staff who had come out in their numbers to catch a glimpse of it.
Management of Citi FM headed by the Chief Executive Officer, Samuel Attah-Mensah, who was present at the time of the incident, intervened and together with Zoe and other managers of Citi FM/Citi TV, followed the officers to the National Security Ministry.
They returned with Zoe Abu-Baidoo, while Caleb Kudah was interrogated for a while longer before his release later.
Below Is The Full Statement:
RTI COMMISSION FINES AND ORDERS THE NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER TO RELEASE INFORMATION REGARDING UNLAWFUL ARREST AND TORTURE OF JOURNALISTS
#FixTheCountry welcomes the recent decision of the Right to Information (RTI) Commission to order the National Security Ministry to disclose 10 classes of information on the unlawful arrest of Mrs. Zoe Abu-Baidoo and the arrest and torture committed by its operatives on Mr. Caleb Kudah.
Both Mrs Abu-Baidoo and Mr Kudah are journalists with Citi TV/FM.
On 31 May 2021, #FixTheCountry filed an RTI request with the National Security Ministry on seeking access to 11 classes of information including aspects of the Standard Operating Manual of the National Security Ministry, with respect to the arrest of citizens by operatives wearing masks; and the torture of journalists.
FixTheCountry also requested for a video of the interrogation of the Journalist; and the report of a purported committee that the Ministry claimed was set up to investigate the incident.
Failing to receive a response from the ministry within 14 days as required by law, We sent two reminders on 24/01/2022 and 11/02/2022 respectively, but still did not get any acknowledgement or reply from the ministry.
We filed a complaint with the RTI Commission on 29/04/2022, invoking its powers under Section 43 of the RTI Act, 2019 (Act 989).
On 28/02/2023, we received a letter from the RTI Commission informing us that it has ruled in our favor and ordered the National Security Ministry to provide us with the requested information within fourteen days. The Commission also fined the Minister 50,000 Ghana cedis for failing to respond to us.
In reaching its decision, the Commission stated that it had found no reasonable justification for the ministry’s failure to respond to our request and reminded it of its obligations under Section 23 of the RTI Act.
We commend the RTI Commission for performing its functions impartially and effectively.
We believe that this decision is a milestone for transparency and accountability which further deepens our democracy and rule of law in Ghana. We urge all citizens to exercise their right to information and hold public institutions accountable for their actions.
We also call on the National Security Ministry to comply with the order of the RTI Commission and respect our constitutional right to information.
We demand justice and freedom for our media men who play a key role in the enhancement of our democracy and should not be the recipients of unlawful violence and intimidation by Institutions paid with our taxes to work for us. We will not relent in our quest for social justice and economic reform in Ghana.
Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini