FAQs

The right to information act, 2019(Act 989), popularly known as the RTI law, affirms and elaborates the constitutional rights for people’s access to information by setting out in detail the manner in which citizens and non-citizens alike can access/ request official information from public and private institutions that receive public resources or perform a public function.

No, it is the responsibility of government to make available to the public, general information on governance without an application from a specific person.

Any person.

No, but if you need the information urgently or to protect life or liberty, you will need to state the reason for the urgency.

 

Information urgently needed to safeguard the life or liberty of a person.

 

Make a written application to the information officer of the institution from which you require the information with your contact details, identification, and a brief description of the information you need. You can make the request either electronically or in hard copy form.

Yes, make the request orally in a language that you understand to the information officer.

  • Inform the IO that you would like to request for information orally.
  • Narrate your request to the IO who will write it down and afterwards explain to you what he or she has written down to make sure it is accurate.
  • The IO will ask a witness to certify that he/she (the IO) read the written request back to you in a language that you understood and you appeared to understand what was read to you.
  • You will be asked to sign or thumbprint the written request.
  • The IO will give you a copy of the written request.

The information officer is expected to take a decision on the application within 14 days.

You will be notified in writing of the decision to grant or refuse the information requested.

Yes, only if

  1. The request is a large volume of information
  2. The original time limit will interfere with the operations of the institution
  3. The information requested has to be gathered from more than one source or
  4. Consultations with other persons outside the institution are required and cannot be compiled within the 14 days limit.

When this happens, you must be informed of the extension in writing.

 

The request/application is deemed to have been refused.

 

Yes, there are. If the information you seek is necessary to safe guard life or liberty of a person, the information officer shall within 14 days:

  1. Determine whether or not to grant the application
  2. Notify the applicant of the decision in writing
  3. Give the applicant access to information where the application is granted
  1. The institution where you made the request must within 2 days refer to the appropriate institution or
  2. Transfer your request to the appropriate institution within 2 days of receipt of your application and inform you of the transfer
  1. Through inspection, or viewing images or hearing a sound of the information requested or
  2. Receiving soft or hard copy, or written transcript, or
  3. In any electronic form.
  1. No, the applicant will be charged a fee to cover the cost of reproducing the information

    .

  1. When the information you requested is a reproduction of your own personal information or a reproduction of the personal information of another person on whose behalf you are requesting for information
  2. When the information is in the public interest
  3. Where under the act, the information should have been provided within a stipulate time but was not
  4. Where information is requested by an indigent or a person with disability

In such a case, you may be required to pay a reasonable cost for translating the information into the language you want.

 

Up to 30 days from the date of the refusal

You can apply to the Head of that institution to review the decision of the IO

Yes, you may be required to pay a reasonable amount for the transcription

Within 15 days from the date of submission of the appeal

The Head of the institution is deemed to have affirmed the original decision of the IO

  1. Where the head of the institution decides to grant access, you will be notified in writing. The notice must state the fee payable if any and the manner in which the information will be given.
  2. Where the head of the institution refuses to grant access, you will be notified in writing. The notice must state the reasons for the refusal, the provision(s) of the act under which access was denied, and your right to appeal to the RTI Commission

You can apply to the RTI Commission or the High Court for redress.

No, you must appeal to the head of institution first before applying to the RTI Commission. However, there are instances when you can appeal to the Commission and they are:

  1. If the request is in respect of your personal information
  2. If you need the information urgently to protect life and liberty of an individual
  3. If the information was previously in the public domain
  4. If the head if the institution is also the IO of that institution
  5. If you did not receive any reply to your initial request from the IO.

Yes, you have 21 days from the date of refusal to apply to the High Court for review.

Yes, you can, if it is by the way if judicial review. In every other situation, you must exhaust all the internal review processes before going to court.

At least once every three months.

The Board of the Commission consists of seven (7) members comprising of a chairperson, deputy chairperson, four (4) other persons, two (2) of whom must be women and the Executive Secretary.

 

The RTI Commission is an independent body established by the Act with a board to promote, monitor, protect and enforce the right to information as explained in the Act.