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Right to Access Information Act

THE RIGHT TO ACCESS INFORMATION ACT, 2013
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
Section
PART I – PRELIMINARY
1. Interpretation.
PART II–THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION
2. Access to information.
3. Submission and forms of request.
4. Time limit for compliance.
5. Transfer of application.
6. Fees.
7. Communication of request.
8. Proactive publication.
9. Approval of publication schemes.
10. Model publication schemes
11. Other proactive obligations.
PART III–EXEMPT INFORMATION
12. Exempt information.
13. Refusal of request.
14. Information accessible by other means.
15. National security and defence.
16. International relations.
17. Economic interests.
18. Investigations and law enforcement.
19. Third party information.
20. Client professional privilege.
21. Personal matters.
22. Commercial interests.
23. Public economic interests.
ACT
Supplement to the Sierra LeoneGazette Vol. CXLIV, No. 62
dated 31st October, 2013
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), a disclosure which
is made to the police or to an appropriate public authority shall be
deemed to be made in the public interest.
(4) For the purposes of this section, a person is penalized
if the person is dismissed, discriminated against, made the subject of
any reprisal or other form of adverse treatment or is denied any
appointment, promotion or advantage that otherwise would have
been provided; and the imposition of any penalty in contravention
of this section shall be actionable in tort.
(5) Any term of a settlement arising from a claim under
this section, in-so-far as it purports to impose an obligation of
confidentiality on any party to the settlement in respect of information
which is not inaccurate and which was or was proposed to be
disclosed, shall be unenforceable.
(6) In any proceedings for an offence for contravention
of any statutory prohibition or restriction on the disclosure of
information it shall be a defence to show that in the circumstances
the disclosure was in the public interest, and where the offence is
alleged to have been committed by an official or Government
contractor and involves the disclosure of information obtained by
the person in the person’s position as such, that the defendant had
before making the disclosure, complied with subsection (2).
51.No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie
against any person for anything which is done in good faith or
intended to be done under or pursuant to this Act. No. 2
Right to Access Information Act 2013 30
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING DEPARTMENT , SIERRA LEONE .
G
AZETTE NO. 62 OF 3 1 ST OCTOBER , 2013.
Passed in Parliament this 29th day of October, in the year of our Lord two
thousand and thirteen.
IBRAHIM S. SESAY,
Clerk of Parliament.
T
HIS PRINTED IMPRESSION has been carefully compared by me with the Bill
which has passed Parliament and found by me to be a true and correct printed copy
of the said Bill.
IBRAHIM S. SESAY,
Clerk of Parliament.
Protection of
bona fide
actions.

24. Historical records.
25. Customary rites and usages.
26. Severability.
PART IV–MEASURES TO PROMOTE OPENNESS
27. Maintenance of records.
28. Appointment and training of public information officers.
29. Development of information communication facilities.
PART V – ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS
30. Establishment of Commission.
31. Composition of Information Commission.
32. Functions and powers of Commission.
33. Powers relating to investigation.
34. Other staff.
35. Duties of Executive Secretary.
36. Protection of officers.
37. Independence of Commissione etc.
PART VI–FINANCIAL PROVISIONS
38. Funds of Commission.
39. Accounts and audit.
40. Financial year.
41. Annual report of Commission.
PART VII–APPEALS
42. Complaint.
43. Review by Commission.
44. Burden of proof.
45. Review of decision.
46. Appeal to High Court
PART VIII–OFFENCES AND PENALTIES
47. Offences.
48. Other Offences.
PART IX–MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
49. Regulations.
50. Whistleblower protection.
51. Protection of bona fide actions.
iiNo. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
Short title.
No. 2 2013
Sierra Leone
The Right to Access Information Act, 2013.
Being an Act to provide for the disclosure of information
held by public authorities or by persons providing services for them
and to provide for other related matters.
[] E
NACTED by the President and Members of Parliament in this
present Parliament assembled.
Date of com-
mencement.
SIGNED this 31st day of October, 2013.
DR. ERNEST BAI KOROMA,
President.
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No. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
No. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
PART 1–PRELIMINARY
1.In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires–
“Commission” means the Information Commission
established by section 30;
“fees notice” means a notice in writing stating that a
fee of an amount specified in the notice is to be
charged by the public authority for complying with
section 2.
“historical record” means a record which was created
twenty or more years before the coming into
operation of this Act;
“information” includes any material regardless of its
physical form or characteristics, such as a book,
plan, map, drawing, film, microfiche, diagram, pictorial
or graphic work, data, photograph, recording, audio
or video-tape, machine-readable material or any other
information held in electronic form, and also includes
any sample, work, model or copy thereof;
“Minister” means the Minister responsible for
information;
“official” means any person employed by a public
authority, whether permanently or temporarily and
whether part-time or full-time, and includes
consultants working directly as individuals for the
authority;
“personal information” means information about an
identifiable individual which contains intimate
details in respect of which that individual has a
reasonable expectation of privacy; 2
Interpretation.
“private body” means a natural person who carries on
a trade, business or profession, but only in such
capacity or a partnership or juristic person which
carries on a trade, business or profession, but does
not include a public authority;
“public information officer” means a person appointed
under section 28-
“public authority” includes any body–
(a) established by or under the Constitution of
Sierra Leone 1991;
(b) established by statute;
(c) which forms part of any level or branch of
Government;
(d) owned, controlled or substantially financed
by funds provided by Government;
(e) carrying out a statutory or public function;
or
(f) a body or organisation that receives monies
on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone;
“publish” means to make available in a form generally
accessible to members of the public and includes
print, broadcast and electronic forms of information
dissemination;
PART II–THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION
2.(1) Every person has the right to access information held
by or is under the control of a public authority.
(2) Every person has the right to access information held
by or is under the control of a private body where that information is
necessary for the enforcement or protection of any right.
(3) Nothing in this Act limits or otherwise restricts the
disclosure of or the right to access, information pursuant to any
other enactment, policy or practice.
(4) Any person making a request for information to a
public authority shall be entitled–
Access to
information. Act No. 6
of 1991.
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No. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
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(a) to have the public authority confirm or deny
whether it holds information of the
description specified in the request; and
(b) where the public authority holds information
of the description specified in the request,
to have the information communicated to
that person
(5) A public authority shall be deemed to have complied
with subsection (4) if it has communicated the information to the
applicant.
(6) In this Act, the duty of a public authority to comply
with paragraph (a) of subsection (4) shall be referred to as “the duty
to confirm or deny”.
3.(1) A request for information under section 2 shall–
(a) be made in writing;
(b) describe the information requested; and
(c) provide an address, which may be an email,
for purposes of correspondence.
(2) For the purposes of paragraph (a) of subsection (1), a
request shall be deemed to be made in writing where the text of the
request–
(a) is transmitted by electronic means;
(b) is received in legible form; and
(c) is capable of being used for subsequent
reference.
(3) An application to access information shall be made
in English or Krio by email, fax, post, telephone or by any other
medium provided that the applicant provides–(a) contact details; and
(b) sufficient particulars for the public information
officer or any other official to understand
what information is being requested.
(4) A public information officer who receives an oral
request shall reduce the request to writing, including the public
information officer’s name and designation and shall give a copy
thereof to the applicant.
(5) Notwithstanding subsection (3), an application may,
if the applicant is unable to communicate in English, be made in any
other local language in use in Sierra Leone: and in that event the
public information officer to whom the application is made shall arrange
for a translation of the application into English.
(6) Where a request for information does not comply with
subsection (3), the public information officer who receives the request
shall render such reasonable assistance, free of charge, as may be
necessary to enable the request to comply with that subsection.
(7) A request referred to in subsection (6) shall not be
deemed to have been rejected while assistance is being rendered.
(8) A public authority may determine the form for requests
for information, but the form shall not be such as to unreasonably
delay requests or place an undue burden upon applicants; and no
application may be rejected on the ground only that the applicant
has not used the prescribed form.
(9) A public authority which receives a request for
information shall provide the applicant with a receipt documenting
the request.
(10) A public authority shall record and maintain records
of all requests for information and all public transactions in a manner
that facilitates the right to information.
Submission
and form of
request.
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4.(1) Subject to subsection (2), section 2 shall be complied
with as soon as possible, and in any event within fifteen working
days of receipt of the application.
(2) Where the information sought concerns the life or
liberty of a person, section 2 shall be complied with within forty-
eight hours of receipt of the application.
(3) Where an application is especially complex or relates
to a large volume of information, the public authority may request
the Commission for an extension of not more than fifteen working
days.
(4) Any failure to conform to the timelines set out in this
section shall be deemed a refusal of the request, for purposes of
complaints and appeals.
5.(1) Where a public authority does not hold information
which is responsive to a request or part of a request, that request or
any relevant part of it may, not later than three days from the date of
its receipt, be transferred to another public authority if the information
requested is held by that other public authority.
(2) Where an application is transferred under subsection
(1), the applicant shall be informed of the transfer immediately, and in
any event not later than three working days from the date of the
transfer.
(3) A public authority to which an application is
transferred under subsection (1) shall decide the request in
accordance with the timelines set out in section 4, to run from the
day upon which the public authority receives the transferred request.
6.(1) A public authority to which a request for information
is made may, within the time limit for compliance specified in section
5, give the applicant a fees notice, stating that a fee of an amount
specified in the notice is to be charged by the public authority for
complying with section 2.(2) Where a fees notice has been given to the applicant,
the public authority shall not be obliged to comply with section 2
unless the fee is paid within the period of three months beginning on
the day on which the fees notice is given to the applicant.
(3) Subject to subsection (5), any fee under this section
shall not exceed the reasonable, cost-based amount for reproducing
and sending the information to the applicant, and shall be in
accordance with any Regulations made by the Minister under this
Act.
(4) Regulations made by the Minister under subsection
(3) may, in particular, provide that no fee shall be payable under this
section in the following cases:–
(a) where the applicant falls below a certain
income level;
(b) where the request is for personal information
relating to the applicant; or
(c) where the request is in the public interest,
for example because the applicant intends to
make the information public.
(5) Subsection (3) shall not apply where provision is made
in any enactment as to the fee that may be charged by the public
authority for the disclosure of the information.
7.(1) Where, on making a request for information, the
applicant expresses a preference for communication by any one or
more of the following means:–
(a) providing the applicant with a copy, certified
or otherwise, of the information in permanent
form or in another form acceptable to the
applicant, such as an electronic form; Time limit
for com-
pliance.
Fees.Transfer of
application.
Communica-
tion of
request.
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No. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
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(b) giving the applicant a reasonable opportunity
to inspect a record containing the information;
(c) providing the applicant with a digest or
summary of the information in permanent form
or in another form acceptable to the
applicant; or
(d) allowing the applicant to take notes, extracts
and samples of any materials,
the public authority shall so far as is reasonable, give effect to that
preference.
(2) A public authority shall not be required to comply
with subsection (1) where to do so would–
(a) be detrimental to the preservation of the
record;
(b) unduly divert the resources of the public
authority; or
(c) breach a copyright not held by the public
authority.
(3) Where a public authority does not, pursuant to
subsection (2), comply with any preference expressed by the applicant
in communicating the information, it shall–
(a) notify the applicant of the reasons for this;
and
(b) communicate the information to the applicant
by any means reasonable in the cir-
cumstances.
8.(1) The following classes of information form the core
proactive publication obligations for every public authority:–(a) the particulars of its organization, functions
and duties;
(b) the powers and duties of its officers and
employees;
(c) the procedure followed in the decision
making process, including channels of
supervision and accountability;
(d) the norms set by it for the discharge of its
functions;
(e) any guidance used by the authority in
relation to its dealings with the public or with
corporate bodies, including the rules,
instructions, manuals and records, held by
it or under its control or used by its
employees for discharging its functions;
(f) a guide sufficient to enable any person
wishing to apply for information under this
Act to identify the classes of information
held by it, the subjects to which they relate
or the location of any indexes to be consulted
by any person;
(g) the particulars of any arrangement that
exists for consultation with or re-
presentation by, the members of the
public in relation to the formulation of
its policy or implementation thereof;
(h) a statement of the boards, councils,
committees and other bodies consisting
of two or more persons constituted as
its part or for the purpose of advising it
with information as to whether meetings
of those boards, councils, committees
and other bodies are open to the public,
or the minutes of the meetings are
accessible to the public;
Proactive
publication.
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(i) a directory of its officers and employees;
(j) the monthly remuneration received by
each of its officers and employees,
including the system of compensation;
(k) the budget allocated to each of its
agencies, including the particulars of all
plans, proposed expenditures and
reports on disbursements made;
(l) the manner of execution of subsidy
programmes, including the amounts
allocated and the details of beneficiaries
of such programmes;
(m) particulars of concessions, permits or
authorizations granted by it;
(n) details in respect of the information
available to or held by it, in an electronic
form;
(o) the particulars of facilities available to
citizens for obtaining information,
including the working hours of a library
or reading room, if maintained for public
use;
(p) the names, designation, contact details
of its public information officers,
appelate authorities and the particulars
and contact details of the Commission;
(q) a list of all applications under this Act
received by the public authority,
including an indexed register containing
copies of records released in response
to requests made under this Act other
than records relating to the personal
affairs of the applicant.(2) Every public authority shall adopt and disseminate
widely, including on its website, a publication scheme which has
been approved by the Commission, within six months of the coming
into operation of this Act or its approval, whichever comes later.
(3) The publication scheme shall set out–
(a) the classes of records that the authority will
publish on a proactive basis; and
(b) the manner in which it will publish these
records.
(4) In adopting a publication scheme, a public authority
shall have regard to the public interest–
(a) in allowing access to the information it holds;
and
(b) in making information available proactively
so as to minimise the need for individuals to
make requests for information.
(5) Every public authority shall publish information in
accordance with its publication scheme.
(6) Every publication scheme shall, within seven years
of the adoption of the first publication scheme by a public authority,
cover all of the core proactive publication obligations set out in
subsection (1).
(7) Any person may institute proceedings in a court to
compel the head of a public authority, to comply with this section.
9.(1) When approving a publication scheme, the
Commission may provide that the approval will expire at a certain
time.
Approval of
publication
schemes.
10
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(2) When refusing to approve a publication scheme, the
Commission shall give reasons and provide reasonable direction to
the public authority as to how it may amend the scheme so as to
obtain approval.
(3) The Commission may, upon giving six months notice
with reasons, withdraw its approval of any publication scheme.
10.(1) The Commission may adopt or approve model
publication schemes for different classes of public authorities.
(2) Where a public authority in a certain class adopts a
model publication scheme which applies to that class of public
authorities, it shall not require further approval from the Commission,
but it shall inform the Commission that it is applying that model
publication scheme.
(3) The Commission may put a time limit on the validity
of a model publication scheme or, upon giving six months notice to
all public authorities using it, terminate the validity of any publication
scheme.
11 .(1) In addition to the items listed in its publication
scheme, a public authority shall also–
(a) publish all relevant facts while formulating
important policies or announcing the
decisions which affect the public;
(b) provide to any person the reasons for any
decision taken by it in relation to that person;
(c) before initiating any project or formulating
any policy, scheme, programme or law,
publish or communicate to the public in
general or to the persons likely to be affected
by it in particular, the facts available to it or
to which it has reasonable access which in
its opinion should be known to them in the
best interests of natural justice and promotion
of democratic principles;(d) unless there are good reasons to the
contrary, allow members of the public to
attend its meetings at which decisions
affecting them are made and shall give
adequate notice of the meetings;
(e) upon signing a contract shall publish it in
the Gazette, detailing at a minimum for each
contract–
(i) the public works, goods acquired or
rented, and the contracted service,
including any sketches, scopes of
service and terms of reference;
(ii)the contract sum;
(iii)the name of the provider, contractor or
individual to whom the contract has
been granted;
(iv)the periods within which the contract
shall be completed.
(2) It is the duty of every public authority to take steps in
accordance with its publication scheme and the requirements of
subsection (1) to provide information proactively to the public at
regular intervals through various media of communication.
(3) All materials shall be disseminated taking into
consideration the need to reach persons with disability, the cost,
local language and the most effective method of communication in
that local area; and the information should be easily accessible and
be available free or at cost, taking into account the medium used.
(4) At a minimum, the material referred to in subsection
(1) shall be made available–
Model
publication
schemes.
Other
proactive
obligations.
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No. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
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(a) for inspection by any person without charge;
(b) by supplying a copy to any person on
request for which a reasonable charge to cover
the costs of copying and supplying them may
be made; and
(c) on the internet, provided that the materials
are held by the authority in electronic format.
PART III–EXEMPT INFORMATION
12.(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure by
a public authority is exempted under this Act.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), information shall not
be exempt where the public interest in accessing the information out-
weighs the harm which the exemption in subsection (1) seeks to
prevent.
13.A public authority which, in relation to any request for
information, is to any extent relying on a claim that information is
exempt information shall, within the time limits for complying with
section 2, notify the applicant in writing stating–
(a) that the information is exempt;
(b) the specific exemption in question; and
(c) why the exemption applies.
14.(1) The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or
to the extent that, compliance with section 2 would involve the
disclosure of any information which is reasonably accessible to the
applicant.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)–
(a) information is reasonably accessible even
though it is accessible only on payment, as
long as the payment does not exceed the fees
that would be applicable under this Act;(b) information is reasonably accessible if it is
information which the public authority or any
other person is bound by law to communicate;
(c) information which is held by a public authority
shall not be regarded as reasonably
accessible merely because the information is
available from the public authority itself on
request, unless the information is made
available in accordance with the publication
scheme referred to in section 8.
15.The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or to
the extent that, compliance with section 2 would or could reasonably
be expected to seriously prejudice national security and the defence
of Sierra Leone.
16.The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or to
the extent that, compliance with section 2 would, or could reasonably
be expected to seriously prejudice relations between Sierra Leone
and any other state or inter-governmental body.
17.The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or to
the extent that, compliance with section 2 would, or could reasonably
be expected to seriously prejudice the ability of the Government to
manage the economy.
18.The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or to
the extent that, compliance with section 2 would, or could reasonably
be expected to cause serious prejudice to–
(a) the prevention and detection of crime;
(b) the apprehension and prosecution of
offenders; or
(c) matters that are subjudice.
Exempt
information.
Refusal of
request.
Information
accessible by
other means.National
security and
defence.
International
relations.
Economic
interests.
Investigations
and law
enforcement.
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No. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
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19.The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or to
the extent that, compliance with section 2 would, in relation to
information obtained by the public authority from a third party, would
or could reasonably be expected to constitute a breach of confidence
actionable by that third party.
20.The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or to
the extent that, compliance with section 2 would involve a breach of
the rules governing legally privileged information.
21.(1) The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or
to the extent that, compliance with section 2 would involve the
unreasonable disclosure of personal information concerning an
individual.
(2) For the purposes of this section disclosure is not
unreasonable if–
(a) the individual to whom the information relates
gives prior consent;
(b) the disclosure is required to promote public
health or public safety;
(c) the disclosure is necessary in order to subject
public authorities and private bodies to public
scrutiny;
(d) the disclosure is made to the individual to
whom the information relates;
(e) the disclosure can reasonably be expected
not to have an adverse effect on the affairs
of any person or prejudice the future supply
of the information;
(f) the information is already available to the
public;
(g) the individual to whom the information relates
was informed or made aware prior to
supplying the information that the
information belongs to a class of informationthat will or might be made available to the
public;
(h) in the case of a deceased person, the
applicant is the next-of-kin or represents the
next-of-kin of the deceased;
(i) the third party has been deceased for more
than twenty years.
22.The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or to
the extent that, in relation to information obtained by the public
authority from a third party, compliance with section 2 would divulge
a trade secret or would or could really be expected to seriously
prejudice the commercial interests of that third party.
23.The duty to disclose information shall not apply if, or to
the extent that, compliance with section 2 would or could reasonably
be expected to seriously prejudice the commercial interests of a public
authority.
24.(1) Access to a historical record shall not be denied under
this Part unless the Commission certifies that there is an ongoing
need for it to be kept confidential.
25.The duty to disclose information shall not apply if the
information requested relates to any matter concerning the traditional
rites or customary usages of a group of people in Sierra Leone.
26.If a request for information relates to a record containing
information which falls within the scope of an exception in this Part,
any information in the record which is not subject to an exception
shall, to the extent it may reasonably be severed from the rest of the
information, be provided to the applicant.
Severability. Third party
informatuion.
Client
professional
privilege.
Personal
matters.
Commercial
interest.
Public
economic
interests.
Historical
records.
Customary
rites and
usages.
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No. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
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PART IV–MEASURES TO PROMOTE OPENNESS
27.(1) Every public authority shall record and maintain
records of its activities in a manner that facilitates the right to
information, as provided for in this Act, and in accordance with the
Code of Practice referred to in subsection (2).
(2) The Commission shall, after consultation with
interested parties, issue and from time to time update a Code of Practice
relating to the keeping, management and disposal of records, as well
as the transfer of records to public archives.
(3) The Commission shall cause to be established a
documentation centre to reflect and promote the history and culture
of the State.
28.(1) Subject to subsections (3) and (4), a public authority
shall appoint as many public information officers in all offices or
units as they have at the local, district, provincial and national levels
as is necessary to enable it to provide information to persons
requesting information under this Act.
(2) Where for any reason, a public authority has not
appointed a public information officer, the head of the public authority
shall for purposes of this Act, be deemed to be the public information
officer of that public authority.
(3) A public information officer shall be the principal
contact person within a public authority to deal with requests from
persons seeking information from the public authority.
(4) A public information officer shall be of sufficient rank
within the public authority to be empowered to make binding decisions
in relation to information disclosure under this Act.
(5) Notwithstanding subsection (3), it is the duty of every
official to provide reasonable assistance to a person seeking
information under this Act and no official may refuse to receive a
request for information on the ground only that the official is not a
public information officer.(6) An official other than a public information officer to
whom a request for information is made under subsection (5), shall
refer the person seeking information to a public information officer
and, if no officer is immediately available, the official shall receive the
request and shall ensure that it is forwarded to the appropriate public
information officer, who shall also issue a receipt for the request,
indicating on it the official’s name, date and designation of receiving
the request.
(7) A public information officer may seek the assistance
of any other official that the officer considers necessary for the proper
discharge of the officer’s duties, and the other official shall render
the required assistance.
29.Public authorities shall develop, for the purposes of this
Act, information communication technology units in accordance with
the national information communication technology policy of Sierra
Leone, to–
(a) facilitate access to information;
(b) ensure transparency and accountability;
(c) improve record keeping;
PART V–ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS
30.(1) There is hereby established a body to be known as
the Commission.
(2) The Commission shall be a body corporate having
perpetual succession, capable of acquiring, holding and disposing
of property, being sued in its corporate name and subject to this Act
of performing all functions as bodies corporate may by law perform.
(3) The Commission shall have a common seal the use of
which shall be authunticated by the signatures of the Chairperson
and any other member of the Commission generally or specifically
authorised by the Commission for that purpose.
Appointment
and training
of public
information
officers.Development
of informa-
tion com-
munication
facilities. Maintenance
of records.
Establishment
of Com-
mission.
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No. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
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(4) Every document purporting to be an instrument
executed or issued by or on behalf of the Commission and to be
sealed with the common seal of the Commission in the manner stated
in subsection (1) shall be deemed to be so executed or issued without
further proof unless the contarary is proved.
(5) In appropriate cases the seal may be affixed to
documents outside Sierra Leone.
31.(1) The Commission shall consist of the Information
Commissioner who shall be the Chairperson of the Commission and
four other Commissioners representing each of the Provinces and
the Western Area.
(2) Members of the Commission shall be appointed by
the President on the recommendation of the Minister and approved
by Parliament.
(3) No person shall be appointed as a member of the
Commission if that person–
(a) is an employee of a political party or holds
an elected or appointed position in central
or local government; or
(b) has been convicted of an offence involving
fraud or dishonesty.
(4) The information Commissioner and the other members
of the Commission shall hold office for a term of five years and shall
be eligible for re-appointment to a further term of five years only.
32.(1) The Commission shall have all powers direct or
incidental, as are necessary to undertake its functions under this
Act, including the power to acquire, hold and dispose of property.
(2) Notwithstanding the generality of subsection (1), the
Commission shall have power to–(a) monitor and report on the compliance by
public authorities with their obligations
under this Act;
(b) make recommendations for reform both of a
general nature and specific public authorities;
(c) co-operate with or undertake training
activities for public authorities on the right
to access information and the effective im-
plementation of this Act;
(d) refer to the appropriate public authority, cases
which reasonably disclose evidence of
criminal offences under this Act; and
(e) publicise the requirements of this Act and
the rights of individuals under it.
(3) In the performance of its functions under this Act, the
Commission shall have the powers of a High Court to–
(a) issue summons or other orders requiring the
attendance of any person before the
Commission to give oral or written evidence
and the production of any document or record
relevant to any investigation by the
Commission;
(b) administer oaths;
(c) examine any person in respect of any subject
matter under investigation before the
Commission;
(d) require any person to disclose any
information within the person’s knowledge
relevant to any investigation by the
Commission; and
(e) enter any premises occupied by a public
authority to carry out any investigation.
Composition
of
Commission.
Functions and
powers of
Commission.
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(4) The Commission may, if satisfied that there has been
an infringement of the provisions of this Act, order–
(a) the release of any unlawfully withheld
information;
(b) the payment of compensation; or
(c) any other lawful remedy or redress.
(5) A person or authority dissatisfied with an order made
by the Commission under subsection (4) may appeal to the High
Court within twenty-one days of the order.
(6) An order of the Commission under subsection (4) may
be filed in the High Court by any party thereto in such manner as the
Commission may, after consultation with the Chief Justice, prescribe
and the party shall give written notice of the filing of the order to all
other parties within thirty days of the date of the filing of the order.
(7) If no appeal is filed under subsection (5), the party in
favour of whom the order is made by the Commission may apply ex
parte by summons for leave to enforce such order as a decree and
the order may be executed in the same manner as an order of the High
Court to the like effect.
(8) A person who–
(a) fails to attend before the Commission in
accordance with any summons or order
issued under subsection (3) or (4);
(b) having attended before the Commission,
refuses to be sworn or to make an affirmation,
or having been sworn or affirmed, refuses
without lawful excuse, to answer any
question or to produce any information;
(c) knowingly gives any false or misleading
information to the Commission; or
(d) causes an obstruction or disturbance in the
course of any proceedings before the
Commission,commits an offence and is liable on conviction in the case of an
individual to a fine not exceeding ten million leones or in the case of
a corporate body to a fine not exceeding one hundred million leones
or a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or to both the fine
and imprisonment.
33.(1) The Commission may, for the purpose of conducting
any investigation pertaining to an inquiry, utilise the services of any
official or investigation agency of the Government and where an
official is so utilised under this subsection, the Commission shall pay
the official or agency for the service rendered.
(2) For the purpose of investigating any matter pertaining
to an inquiry, an official or agency whose services are utilised under
subsection (1) may, subject to the direction and control of the
Commission–
(a) summon and enforce the attendance of any
person for examination;
(b) require the discovery and production of any
information; and
(c) subject to this Act, requisition any public
record or copy of the public record from any
official.
(3) Paragraph (c) of subsection (8) of section 32 shall
apply in relation to any information given by a person before any
official or agency whose services are utilised under subsection (1) as
they apply in relation to any statement made by a person in the
course of giving evidence before the Commission.
(4) The official or agency whose services are utilised
under subsection (1) shall investigate any matter pertaining to the
inquiry and submit a report on it to the Commission.
(5) The Commission shall satisfy itself on the correctness
of the facts stated and the conclusion, if any, arrived at in the report
submitted to it under subsection (4) and for that purpose, the
Commission may make such inquiry, including the examination of
any person or persons who conducts or assists in the investigation
as it thinks fit.
Powers
relating to
investigation.
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No. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
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34.(1) The Commission shall be assisted by a secretariat
consisting of the Executive Secretary, Finance Officer, Administrative
Officer and such other additional technical and administrative staff,
as may be required for the efficient performance of its functions under
this Act.
(2) The Executive Secretary, Finance Officer,
Administrative Officer and such other technical and administrative
staff, shall be appointed by the Commission, on such terms and
conditions as the Commission shall determine.
35.Subject to the general control of the Commission, the
Executive Secretary shall–
(a) be responsible for the carrying out of the
policy decisions of the Commission, the day-
to-day administration and management of the
affairs of the Commission and the control of
the other staff of the Commission; and
(b) perform such other duties as may be assigned
by the Commission.
(3) The Executive Secretary shall, unless in any particular
case the Information Commissioner otherwise directs in writing, attend
all meetings of the Commission.
36.No criminal or civil proceedings shall lie against the
Commission or other staff in respect of any matter or thing done in
good faith in the performance of its or their functions under this Act.
37.The Commission and its authorised agents shall not in the
performance of their functions under this Act be subject to the
directions or control of any person or authority.
PART VI–FINANCIAL PROVISIONS
38.The activities of the Commission shall be financed from
funds consisting of–
(a) moneys appropriated by Parliament for the
purposes of the Commission;(b) grants, gifts or donations for the purposes
of the Commission.
39.(1) The Commission shall keep proper books of account
and proper records in relation to the accounts and shall prepare
within the period of three months after the end of each financial year,
a statement of its accounts in a form approved by the Auditor-General.
(2) The books and accounts of the Commission shall each
year be audited by the Auditor-General or by an auditor appointed
by the Auditor-General and a report of the audit which shall include
a copy of the audited accounts shall be submitted to the Commission.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), the Auditor-
General or the auditor appointed by Auditor-General shall be entitled
to have access to all books of accounts, vouchers and other financial
records of the Commission and to require such information and
explanation on them as the Auditor–General may think fit.
(4) The Auditor-General shall submit to the Commission
a report on the audited accounts and shall, in the report draw attention
to–
(a) any irregularities in the accounts;
(b) any matters that are likely to adversely affect
the operations of the Commission; and
(c) any other matter which, in the Auditor–
General’s opinion, ought to be brought to
the notice of the Commission.
40.The financial year of the Commission shall be the same as
the financial year of the Government.
41.(1) The Commission shall, within three months after the
end of the financial year, submit to the Minister a report on the
performance of its functions during that year and on its policies and
programmes.
Duties of
Executive
Secretary. Other staff.
Protection of
officers.
Independence
of Commis-
sion.
Funds of
Commission.Accounts and
audit.
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Annual report
of Com-
mission.Financial
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No. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
No. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
(2) The annual report shall include the accounts and
annual financial statement prepared under section 39 and the report
of the audit on the accounts.
(3) The annual report shall also include an overview of
the performance of all public authorities in implementing this Act.
(4) To enable the Commission to comply with subsection
(3), every public authority shall report annually to the Commission
on the steps it has taken to implement this Act, including a report on
the requests for information it has received and how these have been
dealt with.
(5) The Minister shall lay copies of the annual report
before Parliament within two months after receiving the report.
(6) The Commission shall make copies of the report
available to all stakeholders once it has been laid before Parliament.
PART VII–APPEALS
42.(1) A public authority may create an internal appeal
mechanism which requesters may use, if they wish to complain that
they have not been provided with information in accordance with
this Act.
(2) An internal appeals mechanism created by a public
authority under subsection (1) shall be inexpensive, simple and shall
require disposal of the appeal in not more than twenty-one days.
43.A person who has made a request for information to a
public authority and which has been refused may apply to the
Commission for a review of the decision of the public authority and
to ascertain whether the public authority failed to comply with an
obligation under this Act, including–
(a) refusing to indicate whether or not it holds a
record, or to provide access to information,
contrary to section 2;
(b) failing to respond to a request for information
within the time limits established in section
4;(c) failing to communicate information in the form
requested under this Act;
(d) charging an excessive fee, contrary to section
6;
(e) refusing to accept an application requesting
access to information; or
(f) any other matter relating to a request for or
access to information under this Act.
44.In an application made under section 43, the burden of
proof shall be on the public authority to show that it acted in
accordance with its obligations under this Act,
45.(1) The Commission shall, on the receipt of an application
for review under section 43, as soon as is reasonably possible, and in
any case not later than fifteen days after giving both the complainant
and the relevant public authority an opportunity to respond in writing,
make an order–
(a) rejecting the application; or
(b) requiring the public authority to take such
steps as may be necessary to bring it into
compliance with its obligations under this Act,
including–
(i) providing access to information;
(ii)providing access to information in a
particular form;
(iii)requiring a public or private body to
compensate the complainant for any loss
or other detriment suffered; or
(iv)imposing a fine on the public authority.
(2) The Commission shall serve a notice of its decision,
including any rights of appeal, on both the complainant and the
public authority.
Review by
Commission.Burden of
proof.
Review of
decision.
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No. 2 Right to Access Information Act 2013
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46.The complainant or the public authority may, within forty-
five days, appeal to the High Court for a review of the decision of the
Commission.
PART VIII–OFFENCES AND PENALTIES
47.Any person who wilfully –
(a) denies or obstructs the access of any other
person to any record or information contrary
to this Act;
(b) obstructs compliance by a public authority
of any of its obligations under this Act;
(c) interferes with the work of the Commission
or other officer of the Commission;
(d) destroys a record with intent to deny access
to a request made under this Act; or
(e) deliberately conceals or falsifies records or
provides false, misleading, incomplete or
inaccurate information in response to a
request made under this Act,
commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding
ten million Leones in the case of an individual and one hundred
million leones in the case of a body corporate or to a term of
imprisonment not exceeding one year to both the fine and
imprisonment.
48.(1) Any person who without reasonable excuse, fails to
supply information requested under this Act, within the period
specified in this Act, commits an offence and is liable on conviction
to a fine not exceeding ten million Leones in the case of an individual
and one hundred million leones in the case of a body corporate or to
a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both the fine
and imprisonment.(2) Any person who without reasonable excuse, refuses
to accept an application for information requested under this Act,
commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding
ten million Leones in the case of an individual and one hundred
million leones in the case of a body corporate or to a term of
imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both the fine and
imprisonment.
PART IX–MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
49.(1) The Minister may after consultation with the
Commission by statutory instrument make Regulations for giving
effect to this Act.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1),
the Minister may, after consultation with the Commission, make
Regulations prescribing the following:–
(a) the form of training of information officers;
(b) the form of reports to the Commission under
subsection (4) of section 41;
(c) any notice required by this Act;
(d) any administrative or procedural matter
necessary to give effect to this Act;
(e) the manner in which fees are to be calculated
and the maximum fee under section 6; and
(f) that no fee is to be charged in prescribed
cases.
50.(1) No person shall be penalized in relation to any
employment, profession, voluntary work, contract, membership of
an organization, the holding of any office or in any other way, as a
result of having made or proposed to make a disclosure of information
which the person obtained in confidence in the course of that activity
if the disclosure is one which is in the public interest.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), subsection (1) shall only
apply where the person believes on reasonable grounds that the
information is accurate. Appeal to
High Court.
Offences.
Other
offences.Regulations.
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Whistleblower
protection.

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