The Right to Information Commission has ordered the Minerals Commission to charged 1.90 pesewas instead of six thousand Ghana cedis in the provision of information requested by the Fourth Estate.
The RTI Commission reversed the decision in a landmark decision following an application for review filed by The Fourth Estate, a journalism project of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA).
The Fourth Estate had indicated in its request letter to the Minerals Commission, Ghana’s mining regulator, that it preferred the information in a PDF format. It also provided an email address to the Minerals Commission through which the information could be sent.
In June 2021, the Fourth Estate asked the mining regulator to furnish them with information on companies licensed to undertake mining in Ghana between January 2013 and May 202, as well as list of companies whose licenses have been revoked or suspended within the same period. But the Minerals Commission asked the Fourth Estate to pay 1,000 dollars before the release of the information arguing the amount being charged is in accordance with the minerals and mining act.
In 13-page decision conveyed to The Fourth Estate on July 19, 2021, the Right to Information Commission said the Mineral’s Commission’s law was “wrongfully applied to the Applicant [ Evans Aziamor-Mensah of The Fourth Estate] when he requested information from the minerals rights register.”
It also declared the mining regulator’s fee illegal.
“The Respondent [Minerals Commission] cannot charge a fee of Ghana Cedi equivalent of $1,000 on the applicant for a request for statistical data or information when such a fee or charge has no legal basis”
Applying the rules of natural justice, the RTI Commission had written to the Minerals Commission asking it to justify its $1,000 demand. The Minerals Commission in its response questioned the locus of the RTI Commission to intervene in the matter.
The Right to Information Commission has, however, ordered the mining regulator to charge only 1.90 pesewas, if the information is to be sent via email. It also instructed the Minerals Commission to charge 1.80 pesewas per page if it’s to print the information for The Fourth Estate.
The statement read below;