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Public urged to use RAI Act for accountability of Ebola funds

NOVEMBER 26, 2014 By Alusine Sesay

Executive Director of Society for Democratic Initiative (SDI), Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, has noted that effective use of the Right to Access Information (RAI) Act of 2013 would help the public to hold NGOs and the government accountable for the use of funds meant to fight against the dreaded Ebola virus disease.

While making a statement at a validation conference on the simplification of the RAI Act, Mr. Abdulai said the Act has two pronged approaches in which both public and private institutions are answerable to the public in terms of making necessary information available to citizens on the use of public funds.

He reiterated that since the Act has been passed by Parliament, the public should now hold government accountable for a better future, thus urging that state institutions, especially the newly established Information Commission, should expedite and match up with the trend.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Theo Nicol, expressed similar need for the public to ask appropriate questions to relevant authorities, to access correct and credible information for public consumption.

He expressed frustration that since the Right to Access Information was passed in 2013, the public has made little or no use of it to foster accountability in governance, and that even civil society groups are not helping the situation as they rely on insinuations instead of backing up their allegations with facts.

Mr. Nicol said government was willing to ensure that the RAI Act works.

“Right to access information is a strong democratic pillar and government has shown strong political will by setting up the Information Commission and appointing commissioners. We are in the process of fully operationalizing the office,” he said.

He called on civil society organizations to do little more than they have been doing to access the correct information for their advocacy, and commended SDI for simplifying the RAI Act.

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