Ministry of Health to Pay Le70 Million Fine For Concealing COVID-19 Information

The Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation has been fined the sum of Le70,000,000 (Seventy Million Leones) for concealing information about it’s coronavirus funds which violates the Right to Access Information Act.

The Right to Access Information Commission which imposed the fine said the Health Ministry failed to comply with Section 2(1) of the Right to Access Information Act 2013.

The Commission said it took action against the Ministry after receiving complaints from The Society for Democratic Initiatives who had made two separate requests to the Ministry of Health on 16th June and 18th August 2020 respectively for information related to COVID-19 funding so far received and disbursed by the Ministry.

According to Dr. Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, the Chairman and Information Commissioner, Right to Access Information Commission, ample time was given to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to respond in writing to the Application for Review made by the Society for Democratic Initiatives. However, after receiving a response On 30th November, the Right to Access Information Commission came to the conclusion that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation “Failed to prove to the Right to Access Information Commission that it acted in accordance with its obligations under the Right to Access Information Commission Act 2013”.

It further concluded that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation “Failed to comply with Sections 2 and 4 of the Right to Access Information Commission Act 2013 as stated in the Application for Review by the requester as stipulated in Section 43(b) of the Right to Access Information Act 2013”.

Apart from a fine of Le70,000,000 (Seventy Million Leones) imposed on the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the Commission also ordered the Ministry to provide to the Society for Democratic Initiatives information on COVID-19 funding so far received and disbursed by the Ministry.

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