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17.05.2007 General News

Ghana not ripe for Freedom of Information law - AG

By myjoyonline

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Joe Ghartey, says Ghana has not reached a stage where it needs and can successfully implement a Freedom of Information Law.

According to the Minister, who is quoted by The Daily Dispatch newspaper, the country should consider its record keeping and the cost involved in implementing such laws before enacting the Freedom of Information Bill which is currently under Cabinet consideration.

Speaking at a courtesy call on him by the High Commissioners of the European Union in Ghana, in Accra, the Attorney General said that "we must be realistic and start improving on the country's record keeping and also look at the cost involved in implementing the law before passing the bill into the country's statute book."

Mr. Ghartey stressed that government is committed to passing the Freedom of Information bill and to ensure that it succeeds, adding that government is seriously considering improving record keeping at the Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

He observed that the country's anti-corruption laws focuses more on the public sector institutions and that government is poised to improve the country's laws to cover all the public and private sectors.

"Government has undertaken institutional reforms and very soon, government hopes to empower the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) with enhanced capacity and resources to fight corruption in Ghana," he said.

He continued that government valued the rule of law and respect for human rights and therefore was considering all other initiatives aimed at improving human rights and deepening democracy in the country.

"Mob justice is an issue in this country and the government cannot allow that to continue," he said.

The Minister expressed hope that when a new Chief Justice is appointed, his ministry will collaborate with him or her to review the country's anti-corruption laws and remand laws to ensure justice in the country.

He emphasised that government will soon dialogue with the civil society on some of the legislative interventions such as Domestic Violence Law, the property rights of spouses and the criminal libel law.

He commended the Ministry of Justice, subvented agencies like the Law Reform Commission, Council for Law Reporting, SFO, General Legal Council, Office of Copyright Administrator and the legal aid scheme for their efforts in making sure that justice prevails in the country.

He also commended member countries of the European Union for their determination and support for changes in the country's Judicial Service.

The leader of the High Commissioners of the European Union in Ghana delegation who is also the German Ambassador in Ghana, Mr. Peter Linder, expressed gratitude to the Ministry for taking the delegation through the functions and activities of the ministry's subvented agencies and commended the government for their effort to ensure justice in the country.

He appealed to all and sundry to assist government to fight corruption.

Credit: The Daily dispatch

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