Country

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Name of law : The Right to Access Information Act, 2013
First adopted : 2013

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 0
Scope 30 29
Requesting procedures 30 25
Exceptions 30 18
Appeals 30 28
Sanctions 8 7
Promotional measures 16 15
TOTAL 150 122

Introduction:
Areas of Strength: 1. Very broad scope. 2. Strong promotional measures 3. The procedures for both requesting information and appealing non-compliance are clear and generally in line with international standards. Areas for Improvement: 1. No statements calling for a broad interpretation of the law, or stressing the importance of the right to information 2. The law does not state that its standards trump any conflicting legislation 3. Several exceptions are overbroad or illegitimate
Right of Access

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1 The legal framework (including jurisprudence) recognises a fundamental right of access to information.Score 0 for no constitutional right to information, 1 point for a limited constitutional right, 2 points for full constitutional recognition of a public right of access to information.2 NO
2 The legal framework creates a specific presumption in favour of access to all information held by public authorities, subject only to limited exceptions.No=0, Partially=1, Yes=22 NO
3 3.1 The legal framework contains a specific statement of principles calling for a broad interpretation of the RTI law
3.2 The legal framework emphasises the benefits of the right to information?
3.1(Y/N - max 1 point)
3.2 (Y/N - max 1 point)
2 NO




Scope

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4 Everyone (including non-citizens and legal entities) has the right to file requests for information.Score 0 point if only residents/citizens; 1 point for all natural persons; 1 point for legal persons. 2 Partially 2(1) Every person has the right to access information held by or is under the control of a public authority. No mention of legal persons.
5 The right of access applies to all material held by or on behalf of public authorities which is recorded in any format, regardless of who produced it.Score 1-3 points if limited definition of information information such as not "internal documents" or databases excluded, 4 points for all information with no exceptions.4 YES 1. “information” includes any material regardless of its physical form or characteristics, such as a book, plan, map, drawing, film, microfiche, diagram, pictorial or graphic work, data, photograph, recording, audio or video-tape, machine-readable material or any other information held in electronic form, and also includes any sample, work, model or copy thereof;
6 Requesters have a right to access both information and records/documents (i.e. a right both to ask for information and to apply for specific documents).Score 1 point for only documents, 1 point for information2 YES 2(4) Any person making a request for information to a public authority shall be entitled– (a) to have the public authority confirm or deny whether it holds information of the description specified in the request; and (b) where the public authority holds information of the description specified in the request, to have the information communicated to that person
7 The right of access applies to the executive branch with no bodies or classes of information excluded.This includes executive (cabinet) and adminsitration including all ministries, departments, local government, public schools, public health care bodies, the police, the armed forces, security services, and bodies owned or controlled by the above.Score 4 points for central government agencies covered: 1 for the head of state, 1 for ministries, 1 for other non-statutory agencies created by the ministries, 1 for state and local government if the government is unitary. If it´s a federalist system, 2 points for the non-statutory agencies. This can be determined by examining the length and thoroughness of the list, if such a schedule exists. Score 1 point for the archives. Add three points and deduct 1 for each exempted central agency (such as the armed forces, police, etc).8 YES 1. “public authority” includes any body– 1. (a) established by or under the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991; (b) established by statute; (c) which forms part of any level or branch of Government; (d) owned, controlled or substantially financed by funds provided by Government; (e) carrying out a statutory or public function; or (f) a body or organisation that receives monies on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone;
8 The right of access applies to the legislature, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all legislative branch at all levels of government4 YES ...
9 The right of access applies to the judicial branch, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all judicial branch at all levels of government4 YES ...
10 The right of access applies to State-owned enterprises (commercial entities that are owned or controlled by the State). Score 1 point if some, 2 points if all2 YES ...
11 The right of access applies to other public authorities, including constitutional, statutory and oversight bodies (such as an election commission or information commission/er). Score 1 point if some bodies, 2 points if all2 YES ...
12 The right of access applies to a) private bodies that perform a public function and b) private bodies that receive significant public funding. 1 point for public functions, 1 point for public funding 2 YES ...

Requesting Procedures

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13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 YES 3. (1) A request for information under section 2 shall– (a) be made in writing; (b) describe the information requested; and (c) provide an address, which may be an email, for purposes of correspondence. No mention of reasons under 3(1).
14 Requesters are only required to provide the details necessary for identifying and delivering the information (i.e. some form of address for delivery).Score Max 2 points and deduct if requesters are required to give any of the following: ID number, telephone number, residential address, etc.2 YES 3. (1) A request for information under section 2 shall– (a) be made in writing; (b) describe the information requested; and (c) provide an address, which may be an email, for purposes of correspondence.
15 There are clear and relatively simple procedures for making requests. Requests may be submitted by any means of communication, with no requirement to use official forms or to state that the information is being requested under the access to information law.Max 2 points. Considerations include that there is no requirement to state that the request is under the RTI law, nor to use an official form, nor to identify the document being sought. 2 YES 3. (1) A request for information under section 2 shall– (a) be made in writing; (b) describe the information requested; and (c) provide an address, which may be an email, for purposes of correspondence. (2) For the purposes of paragraph (a) of subsection (1), a request shall be deemed to be made in writing where the text of the request– (a) is transmitted by electronic means; (b) is received in legible form; and (c) is capable of being used for subsequent reference. (3) An application to access information shall be made in English or Krio by email, fax, post, telephone or by any other medium provided that the applicant provides–(a) contact details; and (b) sufficient particulars for the public information officer or any other official to understand what information is being requested... (8) A public authority may determine the form for requests for information, but the form shall not be such as to unreasonably delay requests or place an undue burden upon applicants; and no application may be rejected on the ground only that the applicant has not used the prescribed form.
16 Public officials are required provide assistance to help requesters formulate their requests, or to contact and assist requesters where requests that have been made are vague, unduly broad or otherwise need clarification. Score 1 point for help in formulation and 1 point for clarification procedures2 YES 3.(4) A public information officer who receives an oral request shall reduce the request to writing, including the public information officer’s name and designation and shall give a copy thereof to the applicant. (6) Where a request for information does not comply with subsection (3), the public information officer who receives the request shall render such reasonable assistance, free of charge, as may be necessary to enable the request to comply with that subsection. (6) Where a request for information does not comply with subsection (3), the public information officer who receives the request shall render such reasonable assistance, free of charge, as may be necessary to enable the request to comply with that subsection.
17     Public officials are required to provide assistance to requesters who require it because of special needs, for example because they are illiterate or disabled.Score Yes=2 point, No=02 YES 3.(4) A public information officer who receives an oral request shall reduce the request to writing, including the public information officer’s name and designation and shall give a copy thereof to the applicant. (6) Where a request for information does not comply with subsection (3), the public information officer who receives the request shall render such reasonable assistance, free of charge, as may be necessary to enable the request to comply with that subsection.
18 Requesters are provided with a receipt or acknowledgement upon lodging a request within a reasonable timeframe, which should not exceed 5 working daysScore 1 point for receipt, 1 point for max 5 working days2 Partially 3. (4) A public information officer who receives an oral request shall reduce the request to writing, including the public information officer’s name and designation and shall give a copy thereof to the applicant... (9) A public authority which receives a request for information shall provide the applicant with a receipt documenting the request. No mention of timelines.
19 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for situations where the authority to which a request is directed does not have the requested information. This includes an obligation to inform the requester that the information is not held and to refer the requester to another institution or to transfer the request where the public authority knows where the information is held.Score: 1 point for information not held, 1 for referrals or 2 for transfers2 YES 5. (1) Where a public authority does not hold information which is responsive to a request or part of a request, that request or any relevant part of it may, not later than three days from the date of its receipt, be transferred to another public authority if the information requested is held by that other public authority. (2) Where an application is transferred under subsection (1), the applicant shall be informed of the transfer immediately, and in any event not later than three working days from the date of the transfer.
20 Public authorities are required to comply with requesters’ preferences regarding how they access information, subject only to clear and limited overrides (e.g. to protect a record).Score: 2 points for Yes, only 1 point if some limitations2 YES 7. (1) Where, on making a request for information, the Communica- applicant expresses a preference for communication by any one or tion of more of the following means:–(a) providing the applicant with a copy, certified or otherwise, of the information in permanent form or in another form acceptable to the applicant, such as an electronic form; (b) giving the applicant a reasonable opportunity to inspect a record containing the information; (c) providing the applicant with a digest or summary of the information in permanent form or in another form acceptable to the applicant; or (d) allowing the applicant to take notes, extracts and samples of any materials, the public authority shall so far as is reasonable, give effect to that preference. (2) A public authority shall not be required to comply with subsection (1) where to do so would– (a) be detrimental to the preservation of the record; (b) unduly divert the resources of the public authority; or (c) breach a copyright not held by the public authority. (3) Where a public authority does not, pursuant to subsection (2), comply with any preference expressed by the applicant in communicating the information, it shall– (a) notify the applicant of the reasons for this; and (b) communicate the information to the applicant by any means reasonable in the cir- cumstances.
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 YES 4. (1) Subject to subsection (2), section 2 shall be complied with as soon as possible, and in any event within fifteen working days of receipt of the application.
22 There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).Score: 1 point for timeframes of 20 working days (or 1 month, 30 days or 4 weeks). Score 2 points for 10 working days (or 15 days, or two weeks) or less.2 Partially 4. (1) Subject to subsection (2), section 2 shall be complied with as soon as possible, and in any event within fifteen working days of receipt of the application.
23 There are clear limits on timeline extensions (20 working days or less), including a requirement that requesters be notified and provided with the reasons for the extension.---2 Partially 4(3) Where an application is especially complex or relates to a large volume of information, the public authority may request the Commission for an extension of not more than fifteen working days.
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES The fact that fees are optional, and are applied after a request is processed, and that there is no mention of requesting fees, heavily implies this.
25 There are clear rules relating to access fees, which are set centrally, rather than being determined by individual public authorities. These include a requirement that fees be limited to the cost of reproducing and sending the information (so that inspection of documents and electronic copies are free) and a certain initial number of pages (at least 20) are provided for free. Score 1 point for fees being limited to reproduction and delivery costs and set centrally, 1 point for at least 20 pages free of charge or for fees being optional2 YES 6. (1) A public authority to which a request for information is made may, within the time limit for compliance specified in section 5, give the applicant a fees notice, stating that a fee of an amount specified in the notice is to be charged by the public authority for complying with section 2.(2) Where a fees notice has been given to the applicant, the public authority shall not be obliged to comply with section 2 unless the fee is paid within the period of three months beginning on the day on which the fees notice is given to the applicant. (3) Subject to subsection (5), any fee under this section shall not exceed the reasonable, cost-based amount for reproducing and sending the information to the applicant, and shall be in accordance with any Regulations made by the Minister under this Act.
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 YES 6 (4) Regulations made by the Minister under subsection (3) may, in particular, provide that no fee shall be payable under this section in the following cases:– (a) where the applicant falls below a certain income level; (b) where the request is for personal information relating to the applicant; or (c) where the request is in the public interest, for example because the applicant intends to make the information public.
27 There are no limitations on or charges for reuse of information received from public bodies, except where a third party (which is not a public authority) holds a legally-protected copyright over the information. Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.


Exceptions

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28 The standards in the RTI Law trump restrictions on information disclosure (secrecy provisions) in other legislation to the extent of any conflict.Score 4 points for a resounding "yes" and 1/2/3 points if only for some classes of information or for some exceptions. If the state secrets law is not trumped by the RTI law max score is 2 points. 4 NO Not mentioned. Although legal principles dictate that this law supplants any prior legislation, the law lacks a concrete statement on the permanent primacy of its provisions with regard to RTI.
29 The exceptions to the right of access are consistent with international standards. Permissible exceptions are: national security; international relations; public health and safety; the prevention, investigation and prosecution of legal wrongs; privacy; legitimate commercial and other economic interests; management of the economy; fair administration of justice and legal advice privilege; conservation of the environment; and legitimate policy making and other operations of public authorities. It is also permissible to refer requesters to information which is already publicly available, for example online or in published form.Score 10 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which either (a) falls outside of this list and/or (b) is more broadly framed10 Partially 14. (1) The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 2 would involve the disclosure of any information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant. (b) information is reasonably accessible if it is information which the public authority or any other person is bound by law to communicate; 19. The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 2 would, in relation to information obtained by the public authority from a third party, would or could reasonably be expected to constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that third party. 20. The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 2 would involve a breach of the rules governing legally privileged information. 25. The duty to disclose information shall not apply if the informationrequestedrelatestoanymatterconcerningthetraditional rites or customary usages of a group of people in Sierra Leone. 14 is problematic since it does not require that the information has actually been published. 19 is overbroad in that it is not limited to privacy or legitimate commercial harms to third parties. 20 is overbroad in that it is not limited to solicitor-client privilege. 25 is not one of the enumerated legitimate categories.
30 A harm test applies to all exceptions, so that it is only where disclosure poses a risk of actual harm to a protected interest that it may be refused. Score 4 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which is not subject to the harm test 4 YES
31 There is a mandatory public interest override so that information must be disclosed where this is in the overall public interest, even if this may harm a protected interest. There are ‘hard’ overrides (which apply absolutely), for example for information about human rights, corruption or crimes against humanity.Consider whether the override is subject to overarching limitations, whether it applies to only some exceptions, and whether it is mandatory.4 YES 12. (1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure by a public authority is exempted under this Act. (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), information shall not be exempt where the public interest in accessing the information out- weighs the harm which the exemption in subsection (1) seeks to prevent.
32 Information must be released as soon as an exception ceases to apply (for example, for after a contract tender process decision has been taken). The law contains a clause stating that exceptions to protect public interests do not apply to information which is over 20 years old.Score 1 point for each2 Partially 1. “historical record” means a record which was created twenty or more years before the coming into operation of this Act; Information that was produced more than 20 years before the RTI law was passed is exempt unless the commission certifies there is an ongoing need to keep it confidential. Highly problematic - since it applies only to information produced before 1993, rather than to all information 20 years old or more - but still worth a point.
33 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for consulting with third parties who provided information which is the subject of a request on a confidential basis. Public authorities shall take into account any objections by third parties when considering requests for information, but third parties do not have veto power over the release of information.Score: 1 point for consultation, 1 further point if original time frames must be respected and the law allows for expedited appeals.2 NO
34 There is a severability clause so that where only part of a record is covered by an exception the remainder must be disclosed. Score 1 point if yes but sometimes can be refused (eg: if deletions render meaningless the document) and 2 points if partial access must always be granted2 YES 26. If a request for information relates to a record containing information which falls within the scope of an exception in this Part, any information in the record which is not subject to an exception shall, to the extent it may reasonably be severed from the rest of the information, be provided to the applicant.
35 When refusing to provide access to information, public authorities must a) state the exact legal grounds and reason(s) for the refusal and b) inform the applicant of the relevant appeals procedures.Score Y/N: 1 point for a and 1 point for b2 Partially 13. A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is to any extent relying on a claim that information is exempt information shall, within the time limits for complying with section 2, notify the applicant in writing stating– (a) that the information is exempt; (b) the specific exemption in question; and (c) why the exemption applies. No mention of appeal procedures.


Appeals

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36 The law offers an internal appeal which is simple, free of charge and completed within clear timelines (20 working days or less).Score 2 points if the internal appeal fulfills these criteria, 1 point if an appeal is offered that does not fulfill this criteria, 0 for no internal appeals.2 YES 42. (1) A public authority may create an internal appeal mechanism which requesters may use, if they wish to complain that they have not been provided with information in accordance with this Act. (2) An internal appeals mechanism created by a public authority under subsection (1) shall be inexpensive, simple and shall require disposal of the appeal in not more than twenty-one days.
37 Requesters have the right to lodge an (external) appeal with an independent administrative oversight body (e.g. an information commission or ombudsman). 1 for partial, 2 for yes2 YES 43. A person who has made a request for information to a public authority and which has been refused may apply to the Commission for a review of the decision of the public authority and to ascertain whether the public authority failed to comply with an obligation under this Act, including– (a) refusing to indicate whether or not it holds a record, or to provide access to information, contrary to section 2; (b) failing to respond to a request for information within the time limits established in section 4; (c) failing to communicate information in the form requested under this Act; (d) charging an excessive fee, contrary to section 6; (e) refusing to accept an application requesting access to information; or (f) any other matter relating to a request for or access to information under this Act.
38 The member(s) of the oversight body are appointed in a manner that is protected against political interference and have security of tenure so they are protected against arbitrary dismissal (procedurally/substantively) once appointed.Score: 1 point for appointment procedure, 1 point for security of tenure2 YES 31. (1) The Commission shall consist of the Information Commissioner who shall be the Chairperson of the Commission and four other Commissioners representing each of the Provinces and the Western Area. (2) Members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Minister and approved by Parliament. The legal framework does not contain any mechanism for dismissing the Information Commissioner which, along with the fixed term length, effectively grants the office security of tenure. However, although full points are awarded here, it is worth noting that better practice legislation should have some mechanism for dismissing the Information Commissioner in the event of, for example, incapacitation, and that security of tenure should be provided by procedural safeguards here, such as requiring the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to assent to the dismissal.
39 The oversight body reports to and has its budget approved by the parliament, or other effective mechanisms are in place to protect its financial independence.Score 1 point for reports to parliament, 1 point for budget approved by parliament2 YES 38. The activities of the Commission shall be financed from funds consisting of– (a) moneys appropriated by Parliament for the purposes of the Commission; (b) grants, gifts or donations for the purposes of the Commission.
40 There are prohibitions on individuals with strong political connections from being appointed to this body and requirements of professional expertise.Score 1 point for not politically connected, 1 point for professional expertise2 Partially 31(3) No person shall be appointed as a member of the Commission if that person– (a) is an employee of a political party or holds an elected or appointed position in central or local government; or (b) has been convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty. No requirement for professional expertise.
41 The independent oversight body has the necessary mandate and power to perform its functions, including to review classified documents and inspect the premises of public bodies.Score 1 point for reviewing classified documents, 1 point for inspection powers2 YES 32(3)In the performance of its functions under this act, the Commission shall have the powers of a High Court to– (a) issue summons or other orders requiring the attendance of any person before the Commission to give oral or written evidence and the production of any document or record relevant to any investigation by the Commission; (b) administer oaths; (c) examine any person in respect of any subject matter under investigation before the Commission; (d) require any person to disclose any information within the person’s knowledge relevant to any investigation by the Commission; and (e) enter any premises occupied by a public authority to carry out any investigation. In the performance of its functions under this Act, the
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 YES 32(6) An order of the Commission under subsection (4) may be filed in the High Court by any party thereto in such manner as the Commission may, after consultation with the Chief Justice, prescribe and the party shall give written notice of the filing of the order to all other parties within thirty days of the date of the filing of the order. (7) If no appeal is filed under subsection (5), the party in favour of whom the order is made by the Commission may apply ex parte by summons for leave to enforce such order as a decree and the order may be executed in the same manner as an order of the High Court to the like effect.
43 In deciding an appeal, the independent oversight body has the power to order appropriate remedies for the requester, including the declassification of information. 1 for partial, 2 for fully2 YES 32(4) The Commission may, if satisfied that there has been an infringement of the provisions of this Act, order– (a) the release of any unlawfully withheld information; (b) the payment of compensation; or (c) any other lawful remedy or redress.
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 YES 32(5) A person or authority dissatisfied with an order made by the Commission under subsection (4) may appeal to the High Court within twenty-one days of the order.
45 Appeals to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are free of charge and do not require legal assistance.1 for free, 1 for no lawyer required. 2 Partially Not mentioned - though the procedure here suggests that lawyers will not be required.
46 The grounds for appeal to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are broad (including not only refusals to provide information but also refusals to provide information in the form requested, administrative silence and other breach of timelines, charging excessive fees, etc.).Score 1 point for appealing refusals, additional points for appealing other violations.4 YES 43. A person who has made a request for information to a public authority and which has been refused may apply to the Commission for a review of the decision of the public authority and to ascertain whether the public authority failed to comply with an obligation under this Act, including– (a) refusing to indicate whether or not it holds a record, or to provide access to information, contrary to section 2; (b) failing to respond to a request for information within the time limits established in section 4; (c) failing to communicate information in the form requested under this Act; (d) charging an excessive fee, contrary to section 6; (e) refusing to accept an application requesting access to information; or (f) any other matter relating to a request for or access to information under this Act.
47 Clear procedures, including timelines, are in place for dealing with external appeals (oversight/judicial).Score 1 point for clear procedures, 1 point for timelines. 2 YES 45. (1) The Commission shall, on the receipt of an application for review under section 43, as soon as is reasonably possible, and in any case not later than fifteen days after giving both the complainant and the relevant public authority an opportunity to respond in writing, make an order– (a) rejecting the application; or (b) requiring the public authority to take such steps as may be necessary to bring it into compliance with its obligations under this Act, including– (i) providingaccesstoinformation; (ii) providing access to information in a particular form; (iii) requiring a public or private body to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; or (iv) imposing a fine on the public authority.
48 In the appeal process (oversight/judicial/) the government bears the burden of demonstrating that it did not operate in breach of the rules.Score Y/N and award 2 points for yes. 2 YES 44 In an application made under section 43, the burden of proof shall be on the public authority to show that it acted in accordance with its obligations under this Act,
49 The external appellate body has the power to impose appropriate structural measures on the public authority (e.g. to conduct more training or to engage in better record management)1 for partial, 2 for fully. 2 YES 45. (1) The Commission shall, on the receipt of an application for review under section 43, as soon as is reasonably possible, and in any case not later than fifteen days after giving both the complainant and the relevant public authority an opportunity to respond in writing, make an order– (a) rejecting the application; or (b) requiring the public authority to take such steps as may be necessary to bring it into compliance with its obligations under this Act, including– (i) providingaccesstoinformation; (ii) providing access to information in a particular form; (iii) requiring a public or private body to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; or (iv) imposing a fine on the public authority.


Sanctions & Proteccions

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50 Sanctions may be imposed on those who wilfully act to undermine the right to information, including through the unauthorised destruction of information.Score 1 point for sanctions for underming right, 1 point for destruction of documents 2 YES 32(8)(d) causes an obstruction or disturbance in the course of any proceedings before the Commission, commits an offence and is liable on conviction in the case of an individual to a fine not exceeding ten million leones or in the case of a corporate body to a fine not exceeding one hundred million leones or a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or to both the fine and imprisonment. 47. Any person who wilfully – (a) denies or obstructs the access of any other person to any record or information contrary to this Act; (b) obstructs compliance by a public authority of any of its obligations under this Act; (c) interferes with the work of the Commission or other officer of the Commission; (d) destroys a record with intent to deny access to a request made under this Act; or (e) deliberately conceals or falsifies records or provides false, misleading, incomplete or inaccurate information in response to a request made under this Act, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding ten million Leones in the case of an individual and one hundred million leones in the case of a body corporate or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year to both the fine and imprisonment. 48. (1) Any person who without reasonable excuse, fails to supply information requested under this Act, within the period specified in this Act, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding ten million Leones in the case of an individual and one hundred million leones in the case of a body corporate or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both the fine and imprisonment. (2) Any person who without reasonable excuse, refuses to accept an application for information requested under this Act, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding ten million Leones in the case of an individual and one hundred million leones in the case of a body corporate or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both the fine and imprisonment.
51 There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).Score 1 point for either remedial action or sanctions, 2 points for both 2 YES 45. (1) The Commission shall, on the receipt of an application for review under section 43, as soon as is reasonably possible, and in any case not later than fifteen days after giving both the complainant and the relevant public authority an opportunity to respond in writing, make an order– (a) rejecting the application; or (b) requiring the public authority to take such steps as may be necessary to bring it into compliance with its obligations under this Act, including– (i) providingaccesstoinformation; (ii) providing access to information in a particular form; (iii) requiring a public or private body to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; or (iv) imposing a fine on the public authority.
52 The independent oversight body and its staff are granted legal immunity for acts undertaken in good faith in the exercise or performance of any power, duty or function under the RTI Law. Others are granted similar immunity for the good faith release of information pursuant to the RTI Law.Score 1 for oversight body, 1 for immunity for others2 Partially 36. No criminal or civil proceedings shall lie against the Commission or other staff in respect of any matter or thing done in good faith in the performance of its or their functions under this Act. Depends on how "any other staff" is interpreted - but this seems to apply only to Commission staff.
53 There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).Score 2 for strong protections, 1 for moderate protections2 YES 50. (1) No person shall be penalized in relation to any employment, profession, voluntary work, contract, membership of protection. an organization, the holding of any office or in any other way, as a result of having made or proposed to make a disclosure of information which the person obtained in confidence in the course of that activity if the disclosure is one which is in the public interest. (2) Subject to subsection (3), subsection (1) shall only apply where the person believes on reasonable grounds that the information is accurate.


Promotional measures

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54 Public authorities are required to appoint dedicated officials (information officers) or units with a responsibility for ensuring that they comply with their information disclosure obligations.Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 28. (1) Subject to subsections (3) and (4), a public authority shall appoint as many public information officers in all offices or units as they have at the local, district, provincial and national levels as is necessary to enable it to provide information to persons requesting information under this Act. (2) Where for any reason, a public authority has not appointed a public information officer, the head of the public authority shall for purposes of this Act, be deemed to be the public information officer of that public authority.
55 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 32. (1) The Commission shall have all powers direct or incidental, as are necessary to undertake its functions under this Act, including the power to acquire, hold and dispose of property. (e) publicise the requirements of this Act and the rights of individuals under it.
56 Public awareness-raising efforts (e.g. producing a guide for the public or introducing RTI awareness into schools) are required to be undertaken by law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 8. (1) The following classes of information form the core proactive publication obligations for every public authority:– … (f) a guide sufficient to enable any person wishing to apply for information under this Act to identify the classes of information held by it, the subjects to which they relate or the location of any indexes to be consulted by any person;
57 A system is in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 3(10) A public authority shall record and maintain records of all requests for information and all public transactions in a manner that facilitates the right to information. 27. (1) Every public authority shall record and maintain records of its activities in a manner that facilitates the right to information, as provided for in this Act, and in accordance with the Code of Practice referred to in subsection (2). (2) The Commission shall, after consultation with interested parties, issue and from time to time update a Code of Practice relating to the keeping, management and disposal of records, as well as the transfer of records to public archives.
58 Public authorities are required to create and update lists or registers of the documents in their possession, and to make these public. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 Partially 8. (1) The following classes of information form the core proactive publication obligations for every public authority:– … (f) a guide sufficient to enable any person wishing to apply for information under this Act to identify the classes of information held by it, the subjects to which they relate or the location of any indexes to be consulted by any person; (n) details in respect of the information available to or held by it, in an electronic form;
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 32. (1) The Commission shall have all powers direct or incidental, as are necessary to undertake its functions under this Act, including the power to acquire, hold and dispose of property. (2) Notwithstanding the generality of subsection (1), the Commission shall have power to - (c) co-operate with or undertake training activities for public authorities on the right to access information and the effective im- plementation of this Act;
60 Public authorities are required to report annually on the actions they have taken to implement their disclosure obligations. This includes statistics on requests received and how they were dealt with. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 41. (1) The Commission shall, within three months after the end of the financial year, submit to the Minister a report on the performance of its functions during that year and on its policies and programmes...(4) To enable the Commission to comply with subsection (3), every public authority shall report annually to the Commission on the steps it has taken to implement this Act, including a report on the requests for information it has received and how these have been dealt with.
61 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, has an obligation to present a consolidated report to the legislature on implementation of the law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 41. (1) The Commission shall, within three months after the end of the financial year, submit to the Minister a report on the performance of its functions during that year and on its policies and programmes... (3) The annual report shall also include an overview of the performance of all public authorities in implementing this Act.(5) The Minister shall lay copies of the annual report before Parliament within two months after receiving the report.