Adom-Otchere accuses Togbe Afede of hypocrisy
Council of State honours Adom-Otchere’s RTI request
Togbe Afede’s aide RTI request redirected to Metro TV
The Council of State has referred an aide to Togbe Afede XIV, Dr Elikplim Kwabla Apertorgbor, to Section 21 of the Right to Information Act 2019, Act 989, in response to a request the former filed to it.
Apertogbor on June 10, 2022, wrote to the Council of State to request for information on “travel allowances paid to members of the Council of State from 2017 to 2019.”
The purpose of the request filed under the Right to Information Act, according to the applicant, “is to verify a claim made by Paul Adom-Otchere that Togbe Afede XIV was paid for travelling from Ho to attend meetings for the period he served as a member of the Council of State.”
But in a response dated Monday, June 13, 2022, the Council of State directed the petitioner to seek his request from Metro TV as it had already made the requested information available to the media house.
“Please be informed that the information requested is readily available by another public institution, Metro TV, who requested for same on the 8th of June 2022 and have since put it into the public domain.
“Per provisions of Section 21, of the Right to Information Act 2019, Act 989, you are directed to contact Metro TV for the said information,” the response signed by the Finance and Administration Director of the Council of State, Stephen Blay, said.
Following the Council of State’s response, some critics have pointed out flaws in the reference made to Section 21 of the RTI Act as the basis to redirect the petitioner’s request to Metro TV.
The convener of the youth activism group, #FixTheCountry, Oliver Barker-Vormawor, has also pointed out flaws in the response, via a post he made on his Facebook page.
Aside from drawing a distinction between the request earlier filed by Paul Adom Otchere and the one made by Dr Elikplim Apertorgbor, the activist said the Council of State misapplied the reasoning behind Section 21 of the RTI Act.
He noted that while the Council of State referred to Metro TV as a public institution, the media organization in actuality is a private entity which is not bestowed with a responsibility to honour a request under the RTI law.
“Section 21 that the Council uses to reject the request, does not give the Council the power to do that.
“Section 21 being referred to here says if the information being requested from a public institution, is determined to be readily available in an official publication held by another PUBLIC INSTITUTION, that public institution from which the information is being requested shall
a) direct the application to that public institution having custody of the official publication sought
b) notify that public institution of the request by the applicant.
“See, in putting in place that section, one of the mischiefs the lawmaker was trying to prevent was public agencies refusing your request, because the information you are seeking is actually held by another public institution, rather than the one you applied to. Except you don’t necessarily know this, and they in the public service know exactly who has the information you seek. To prevent you being frustrated back and forth, the law imposed an obligation on any public institution you apply to, to transfer your application to the appropriate body, which has the information you seek, if they DONT HAVE IT,” the activist wrote.
The Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State and President of Asogli Traditional Area, Togbe Afede XIV, recently directed his bankers to refund over GHC300,000.00 paid to him as ex-gratia, to the State.
According to Togbe Afede, the payment is unmerited as the work of Council of State members is part-time and not full-time.
On his Good Evening Ghana programme, Paul Adom-Otchere in reaction to Togbe Afede’s gesture questioned his motive and tagged him as a hypocrite.
In what he later said was confirmed by information sought from the Council of State under the RTI law, the programme host said Togbe Afede during his tenure on the council was abysmal in terms of attendance at meetings.
He further stated that Togbe Afede while living in Accra over the period took travelling allowance on the basis that he was travelling from the Volta Region to attend the council’s meetings.
His claims however have been disputed by Togbe Afede XIV who tagged them as falsehood.