Friday, September 20News That Matters

‘I stand by comments on RTI Bill, criticize me if you want’ – K.T Hammond

Adansi Asokwa Member of Parliament, KT Hammond says he is unfazed by the response from civil society to his position on the Right To Information (RTI) Bill.

According to him, even though he welcomes their criticism of his stance on the Bill, he believes some of the comments made about him are unwarranted.

His remarks follow statements from the Media Coalition on RTI and Occupy Ghana that questioned his stance on the Bill.

The Coalition had alleged that the NPP MP had “taken advantage of the situation to stop the House from considering the Bill by raising the issue of quorum.”

Speaking to Citi News, KT Hammond maintained that the RTI Bill in its current form is dangerous for governance.

“What I found a little bit more disappointing was when one suggested that they didn’t think I had the document and they didn’t think I had understood it. That is below the belt. They [CSOs] should give me a little bit more credit.

“They may not like my views but to suggest that I do not a know thing about RTI is a bit unfair. I did not expect that they will clap for me. I knew that this Bill will not enure to the benefit of the entire country. I have suggested that this is a Bill that the media is interested in and I stand by it. Criticize me, but give me a little bit more credit.”

We won’t rush passage of RTI Bill – K.T. Hammond

Mr. Hammond had earlier said he and some of his fellow MPs are very worried because of the potential pitfalls the Right to Information (RTI) Bill in its current form present.

“I am very very worried. It has potential banana skins and we have got to look at it pretty carefully and some of us are petrified. I am very uncomfortable,” the MP had told Citi News.

He said he was particularly concerned with Clause 17 of the Bill, which he described as “the most dangerous cof all the clauses.”

The Clause allows the release of exempt information if the information being requested will reveal evidence of failure to comply with the law, risk to public safety, a miscarriage of justice, an abuse of authority or deregulation of official functions.

The clause also mandates the disclosure of the exempt information if the disclosure clearly outweighs the harm or danger that the disclosure will cause.

Because of these concerns, Mr. Hammond said “we will do our best. We will go through but nobody is going to rush.”

“In opposition, I held the same view. The very last minute when the NDC government wanted to rush it through Parliament, we made sure we stood firm and made sure that we did the right thing… we are going to make sure we in government will do the right thing making sure it goes its normal course.”

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