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RAIC launches first annual report

March 22, 2021

By Yusufu S. Bangura

Chairman for RAIC, Ibrahim Seaga Shaw officially launch the report

Right to Access Information Commission (RAIC) has last Friday launched its first ever annual report that captures the commission’s activities for the past years.

The report entails audit on the accounts, challenges and areas the commission should concentrate on in the implementation of the RAIC Act.

Launching the annual report at the Ministry of Finance conference hall, George Street in Freetown, Chairman for RAIC, Dr.Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, said the 2019/2020 report is the first annual report of the commission since it was set up in 2014, adding that the report was launched because when they took up office, there was no report.

He said the enactment of the Freedom of Information law in 2013 was a very important step towards democratic governance, transparency, accountability and the rule of law.

 He said Section 39 of the Commission Act 2013 mandate the commission to produce an annual report at the end of every year and Section 41 also mandate them to produce the report to the Minster of Information and Communication, as to how they plan their activities and program for any year.

The RAIC chairperson said the commission was reconstituted to start operations against the backdrop of a number of international human rights instruments consistence with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that provides right of all persons to seek, receive and impart information without borders from any agencies, ministries, departments.

He noted that the commission was established on the principles of promoting transparency, accountability and good governance and also to promoting access to information held by institutions and to ensuring compliance from organisations to disclose information to the general public if the information is required for the protection of any right.

He added  that the commission is also mandated to promote proactive disclosure of information and enforce measures to promote openness by forging partnership with stakeholders.

“The commission has the powers of the High Court to undertake investigation of appropriate matters, enter any premises in the conduct of its investigations, to order the release of information, among others. The main objective of the commission is to promote the demand and supply of information among the general public,” said Seaga Shaw.

He advised institutions to train and appoint public information officers because Section 28 of the RAI Act provides for public authorities to appoint public information officers in all offices across the country as it will enable them to provide information to persons requesting for information.

He said over the years, the commission has been faced with so many challenges like limited ceiling on government budget allocation, lack of adequate staff at all RAIC offices, conflict in some of the provisions of the RAIC Act 2013, among others.

He added that records management is the biggest challenges the commission is facing because most institutions do not keep records.

Chairman Seaga Shaw said amidst the critical challenges, in 2019, the commission was able to receive 89 requests, 41 complaints from different media institutions across the country.

 He said the commission do a  follow-up on 10 complaints made by media institutions and  that they have successfully won 112 requests and complaints made to them.

“I would like to thank my hardworking staff, local and development partners for their invaluable cooperation and support over the years. I am looking forward for more support and I will continue to work with the government and development partners to make sure that our work becomes more effective to the public,” he said.

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