The procedure for the introduction of the Freedom of Information Bill in Parliament and the format of the Gazette publication met the constitutional requirements, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, has said.
Quoting section 46 of Act 792, she said the 14 calendar days gazette period required before the Bill is sent to Parliament elapsed on February, 3, 2010.
"The Bill was laid in Parliament by the Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Hon Ebo Barton-Odro on behalf of the Attorney-General on Friday, 5th February, 2010," she said in a letter to Professor Kwame Karikari, a member of the Coalition on Right to Information, which had raised issues with the procedure for the passage of the Bill by Parliament.
The AG's letter was copied to the Speaker, the Majority Leader and Minority leader.
The Ghana National Coalition on the Right to Information had asked whether the Constitutional process for the introduction of a Bill in Parliament had been complied with and whether the full text of the Bill to be introduced in Parliament was to be printed in the Gazette in accordance with Article 106 (2) (b) of the Constitution, or whether the publication of the title of the Bill sufficed.
Mrs Mould-Iddrisu explained that the mode of publication of the Bills in the Gazette took the form of printing only the title and the date of the gazette notification was printed at the back of the Bill.
The Attorney-General said it was only after the statutory maturity date that the Office of Parliament was provided with copies of the Bill for distribution to members.
"When the Bill is referred to the Parliamentary Committee for consideration and report, it becomes incumbent on the Office of Parliament to invite memoranda on the Bill from the public which is generally done through the print and broadcast media," the letter said.
"The procedure for the introduction of the Freedom of Information Bill in Parliament and the format of the Gazette publication have met the constitutional requirements and the Bill is accordingly properly laid before Parliament."
Mrs Mould-Iddrisu, therefore, called on persons interested in the Right to Information Bill to obtain a copy from the Ghana Publishing Company, Assembly Press.
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