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Minister Ngafuan hails Liberias accession to FOI Law

Patrick Flomo/Benjamin S. Taingay
Foreign Minister, Augustine Ngafuan
Foreign Minister, Augustine Ngafuan

(elbcradio.com/Mar. 9, 2015)-Foreign Minister, Augustine Ngafuan, has hailed Liberia’s accession to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Law.

The Freedom of Information Law guarantees the public’s access to information.
Minister Ngafuan said the best legacies any government can leave with posterity is building institutions and creating framework for good governance and freedom.

He also said: “While building infrastructure is critical to the development of any country, creating institutions like the Independent Information Commission (IIC) is one of the best legacies.”

The IIC guarantees access to Freedom of Information and enhances democracy.
Minister Ngafuan made the commendation recently at the ministry when the Commissioner of the IIC, Cllr. Bedor-Wla Freeman, paid a courtesy call on him.

The release further noted that the visit was part of the Commission’s outreach program, launched recently, to sensitize government officials about the FOI Law. The Commission’s first visit was with Vice President, Joseph Boakai, at his Capitol Hill office in Monrovia.

The Foreign Minister welcomed the IIC Commissioner and praised him for the level of work done to foster the Freedom of Information Law in the country. Minister Ngafuan then appealed to local and international partners for support to the Commission to ensure the successful implementation of the Law.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Freeman is appealing to Minister Ngafuan to serve as Ambassador for the FOI Law in the Cabinet.
Cllr. Freeman said: “Appropriate public awareness and clear understanding of the Law was paramount to the public’s compliance.”

“Since the passage of the FOI Law, most public institutions have not satisfied Article 3.6 of the Law,” he also said. Article 3.6 of the Law calls for the appointment of Public Information Officers (PIO) at public institutions to receive requests for information held by such entities.

Commissioner Freeman emphasized: “Their failure to do so is in violation of the Freedom of Information Law.”
He further encouraged Foreign Minister Ngafuan to set up an Internal Review Board (IRB) to handle Freedom of Information requests at the Ministry.

Liberia acceded to the Freedom of Information Law in 2010, making the country one of two West African Countries and one of five African Countries that passed the FOI Law.

 


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