The Minister for National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah has been slapped with a fine of GH¢50,000 by the Right to Information Commission.
The fine was contained in a ruling by the Commission on a case filed by the Convener of #FixTheCountry, Oliver Barker-Vormawor on the assault and arrests of some journalists by National Security operatives in May 2021.
The Commission in its ruling issued a 14-day ultimatum for the payment and further directed the release of information requested by the petitioner.
Among other information releases are: “The Report of the investigation committee set up by the Ministry of National Security to investigate a report of arrest of Mr. Caleb Kudah of Citi FM on May 11, 2021, which was referred to in the Statement by the National Security of 20th May, 2021.
“The Standard Operating Procedures of the National Security which was referred to in the Statement by the National Security on 20th May, 2021.
“The specific aspects of the Standard Operating Procedures of the National Security which were found to have been contravened by Lt. Colonel Frank Agyeman as indicated in the Statement by the National Security of 20th May 2021.
“The specific aspects of the Standard Operating Procedures or any other protocols of the Ministry of National Security which require that persons effecting arrest of Ghanaian citizens in Ghana should be masked.
“Information indicating which ethics and professional standards guiding the operational duties of the Ministry of National Security require that persons effecting arrests of Ghana citizens should be masked,” the Commission said.
The Minister was however directed to hold some information requested by the petitioner.
“The CCTV recordings of the interrogation of Caleb Kudah of Citi FM pursuant to his arrest on 114 May, 2021.
“The CCTV recordings of Mr. Caleb Kudah of Citi FM’s movements in the complex of the National Security prior to his arrest on 114 May, 2021.
“The names and ranks of the three Police Officers mentioned in the Statement by the National Security of 20th May 2021.
“The names, designations and roles of the individuals who effected the arrest of Mrs. Zoe Abu-Baidoo at the premises of the Citi FM,” were all to be withheld.
According to the Commission, the minister and the National Security Ministry had breached right to access information as enshrined in Article 21(1)(f) of the 1992 Constitution.
Barker-Vormawor in 2022 wrote to the National Security Ministry to request the information stated above after reports of the arrest and alleged assault of two Citi FM journalists, Caleb Kudah and Zoe Abu Baidoo.
The Ministry failed to respond to the application as well as a review application by the youth activist who went ahead to report the matter to the RTI Commission.
The Commission arrived at its verdict after the Ministry had again failed to respond to a request by the RTI Commission on the subject matter.
Meanwhile the petitioner, Barker-Vormawor has in a Facebook post corroborated the report about the fine imposed on the Ministry.
“Nearly 2 years ago, officials of the Ministry of National Security detained and tortured Ghanaian Journalist Caleb Kudah.
“Same officials, wearing balaclavas, stormed Citi fm and arrested Zoe Abu Baidoo.
“I petitioned the Right to Information Commission after one year of chasing various information including the Report of the Committee they claimed investigated the abuse on Caleb.
“Today, I received news that the Commission finished its deliberations.
The Ministry has been fined 50,000 ghana cedis for failing to provide me with several of the disclosures requested,” he wrote in a Facebook post.