IIC Warns UL, Others Against FOI Violation…Renders Ruling Against LPRC

The Independent Information Commissioner, Cllr. Mark Bedor-Wla Freeman has warned the University of Liberia and other institutions which have consistently violated the FOl law to henceforth desist or face contempt and sanctions provided by law.

He said the University has on several occasions failed and refused to honor citations from the Commission for hearing into a complaint filed by Mr. Peal Nyekan against the UL for refusing to give him information on two UL entrance and placement exams that all students were said to have failed.

Meanwhile, the Independent Information Commission has ruled that the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC) through its Managing Director, Mr. T. Nelson Williams releases documents requested by Mr. Roland Worwee of Corruption Watch in line with the Freedom of Information Act of Liberia.

According to a release, the Commissioner Freeman made the decision recently at the final Hearing of the Complaint of denial of request of information filed with the IIC by Roland Worwee against the LPRC Managing Director T. Nelson Williams

During the Hearing, Cllr. Freeman indicated that documents relating to contracts signed by the LPRC, amount spent on Public Relations, the Managing Director’s salary and benefits, Board sitting fees, and details of travels made in the Corporation’s interest are all public records and should not be kept secret.

He said following the careful review of submissions made by both parties; the Commission is of the opinion that the documents requested by Mr. Worwee are not covered by the Exemptions as contained in Chapter 4 of the Freedom of Information Act of 2010; therefore they should be released.

In response, Counsel for the Complainant, Atty. Larmii Kparkoi said a new day of access to information in Liberia has come and that the decision of the commission was a welcoming one and called on all Liberians to take advantage of the FOl law.

For his part, Atty. Jamal C. Detho of the Dunbar and Dunbar Law offices, representing the LPRC took exception to the ruling and said they would take advantage of the law by appealing the decision to the Civil Law Court.

This is the second Decision on appeal to the Civil Law Court since the Commission began hearing complaints. In August 2013, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission took an appeal when the Commission ruled in favor of the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP) that assets declared by public officials be made public.