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MPs divided in Parliament over passage of RTI bill

Members of Parliament were divided over the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill.

Majority Leader, Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, said the failure of Members of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic to pass the Bill into an Act will amount to causing financial loss to the State.

But the Minority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said, it would boycott the passage of the Bill if the necessary consultation is not done.

Hon. Bagbin made the observation on the floor of Parliament, Wednesday, December 21, 2016.

He said “I have always maintained that this Parliament must pass this RTI Bill before we rise, it is very important. Even if it means we have to sit till night we have to pass this Bill. Everything has been done. It is just a matter of going through the motions now.”

“I chaired the Committee as far back as 2013 and submitted the report. In 2014, I proposed the amendments and because the amendments were so huge in terms of not only numbers but content, we were compelled halfway through to refer them to the Attorney-General to incorporate it into a new Bill.
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“The Attorney-General department has done that – they have relaid the new Bill which was referred to the Committee chaired by a new Chairman now …they have reported to the House. We’ve started the Consideration and we are now at Clause 40 and over.”

“I mean why should we allow this to go waste? That will be causing financial loss to the State,” he said.
The Minority leader on his part argued that the government is conducting its activities few days to its handing over contravenes the Presidential Transition Act 2012 (845).

He said the law provides the opportunity for the incoming government to be consulted by the outgoing government on key national decisions but this has not been done.
“Personally I am committed that we do it,” he said but the “Presidential Transition Act has to be followed.”

The RTI bill has suffered several setbacks in Parliament with the Right to Information Coalition, earlier threatening to stage a protest against government over the delay in the passage of the Bill.

The Coalition said they sought to impress upon the Mahama-led government to expedite action on the passage.

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