The Public Information Officer, National Assembly Secretariat is directed to provide requested information about the payments (salary/allowances) paid to the Member National Assembly and the attendance record for the time-period mentioned in the request for information within 10 working days of the receipt of this Order.
The Respondent is directed to conduct accessibility audit of its web site and submit compliance report to this effect by 22/02/2021.
This commission is of the view that right of access to information in matters of public importance can only be restricted on reasonable grounds supported by law. The Honourable Speaker, National Assembly has restricted access to information about payments (salary/allowances) without providing any reasons.
This commission maintains that disclosure of information about the payments (salary/allowances) paid to Members of National Assembly, (MNAs) does not meet the threshold of disclosure outweighing public interest. This commission believes that the expenditure of public money through the payment of MNAs salaries and allowances is a matter of “direct and reasonable interest to taxpayers”, as observed also by UK High Court in a hearing on the issue of payments made to MPs. In fact, the disclosure of information about the payments (salary/allowances) made to MNAs is in public interest as citizens will be able to know how their taxes are being put to use which will lead to reducing trust deficit between citizens and their public institutions.
This commission is of the view that it is not only the responsibility of the federal public bodies to ensure publication of all categories of information mentioned in Section 5 of the Act, they should also ensure the retrievability of information/records. This is only possible when public bodies periodically conduct accessibility audit of their web sites.