ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005.


ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005.

 

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS.

   Section

 

PART I
PRELIMINARY.

 

   1.   Short title.

 

   2.   Application.

 

   3.   Purpose of Act.

 

   4.   Interpretation.

 

PART II
ACCESS TO RECORDS AND INFORMATION.

 

   5.   Right of access.

 

   6.   Access to information and records.

 

   7.   Manual of functions and index of records of public body.

 

   8.   Disclosure and automatic availability of certain records.

 

   9.   Information in directory.

 

   10.   Information officers.

 

   11.   Form of request.

 

   12.   Duty to assist persons.

 

   13.   Transfer of request.

 

   14.   Records that cannot be found or do not exist.

 

   15.   Deferral of access.

 

   16.   Decision on request and notice.

 

   17.   Extension of period to deal with request.

 

   18.   Deemed refusal of request.

 

   19.   Severability.

 

   20.   Access and forms of access.

 

   21.   Access to health or other records.

 

   22.   Preservation of records.

 

PART III
EXEMPTION FROM ACCESS.

 

   23.   Interpretation.

 

   24.   Access subject to conditions.

 

   25.   Cabinet minutes and those of its Committees.

 

   26.   Protection of information relating to privacy of the person.

 

   27.   Protection of commercial information of third party.

 

   28.   Protection of certain confidential information.

 

   29.   Protection of safety of persons and property.

 

   30.   Protection of law enforcement and legal proceedings.

 

   31.   Protection of records privileged from production in legal proceedings.

 

   32.   Defence, security and international relations.

 

   33.   Operations of public bodies.

 

   34.   Mandatory disclosure in public interest.

 

PART IV
THIRD PARTY INTERVENTION.

 

   35.   Notice to third parties.

 

   36.   Representation by third party.

 

PART V
COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS.

 

   37.   Complaints to Chief Magistrate.

 

   38.   Appeal to court.

 

   39.   Procedure.

 

   40.   Disclosure of records by court.

 

   41.   Civil proceedings.

 

   42.   Decision of court.

 

PART VI
MISCELLANEOUS.

 

   43.   Annual report.

 

   44.   Protection of persons releasing information.

 

   45.   Protection of officers.

 

   46.   Offences.

 

   47.   Regulations.

 

   48.   Power of Minister to amend Schedule.

 

 

 

      Schedule   Currency point.

 

 

 

ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005.

Commencement: 20 April, 2006.

   An Act to provide for the right of access to information pursuant to article 41 of the Constitution; to prescribe the classes of information referred to in that article; the procedure for obtaining access to that information, and for related matters.

PART I
PRELIMINARY.

 

1.   Short title.

   This Act may be cited as the Access to Information Act, 2005.

 

2.   Application.

(1) This Act applies to all information and records of Government ministries, departments, local governments, statutory corporations and bodies, commissions and other Government organs and agencies, unless specifically exempted by this Act.

(2) This Act does not apply to—

 

(a)   Cabinet records and those of its committees;

 

(b)   records of court proceedings before the conclusion of the case.

(3) Nothing in this Act detracts from the provisions of any other written law giving a right of access to the record of a public body.

 

3.   Purpose of Act.

   The purpose of this Act is—

 

(a)   to promote an efficient, effective, transparent and accountable Government;

 

(b)   to give effect to article 41 of the Constitution by providing the right to access to information held by organs of the State, other than exempt records and information;

 

(c)   to protect persons disclosing evidence of contravention of the law, maladministration or corruption in Government bodies;

 

(d)   to promote transparency and accountability in all organs of the State by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information; and

 

(e)   to empower the public to effectively scrutinise and participate in Government decisions that affect them.

 

4.   Interpretation.

   In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   "court" means the Chief Magistrates' Court or the High Court;

   "currency point" means the value specified in relation to a currency point in the Schedule;

   "information" includes written, visual, aural and electronic information;

   "information officer" means the Chief Executive of a public body;

   "manual" means the manual of functions of, and index of records held by a public body, compiled under section 7;

   "Minister" means the Minister to whom the functions of the Minister under this Act have for the time being been assigned by the President;

   "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations made under section 47;

   "privacy" means the right of a person to keep his or her matters and relationships secret;

   "proprietary information" means information relating to any manufacturing process, trade secret, trademark, copyright, patent or formula protected by law or by International Treaty to which Uganda is a party;

   "public body" includes a government ministry, department, statutory corporation, authority or commission;

   "record" means any recorded information, in any format, including an electronic format in the possession or control of a public body, whether or not that body created it;

   "relevant authority" means the Minister responsible for that public body or the person designated in writing by that Minister;

   "request for access" means a request for access to a record of a public body under section 11;

   "Rules Committee" means the Rules Committee established by section 40 of the Judicature Act;

   "security" means the protection of Uganda against threats such as crime, criminals and attacks by foreign countries;

   "sovereignty" means the supremacy of the State;

   "third party" in relation to a request for access, means any person, including but not limited, to the government of a foreign state, an international organisation or an organ of that government or organisation, other than—

 

(a)   the person requesting the record; and

 

(b)   a public body.

PART II
ACCESS TO RECORDS AND INFORMATION.

 

5.   Right of access.

(1) Every citizen has a right of access to information and records in the possession of the State or any public body, except where the release of the information is likely to prejudice the security or sovereignty of the State or interfere with the right to the privacy of any other person.

(2) For the avoidance of doubt, information and records to which a person is entitled to have access under this Act shall be accurate and up to date so far as is practicable.

 

6.   Access to information and records.

A person's right of access is, subject to this Act, not affected by—

 

(a)   any reason the person gives for requesting access; or

 

(b)   the information officer's belief as to what the person's reasons are for requesting access.

 

7.   Manual of functions and index of records of public body.

(1) Within six months after the commencement of this section or the coming into existence of a public body, the information officer of the public body shall compile a manual containing—

 

   (a)   a description of the public body and the functions of the public body;

 

(b)   the postal and street address, phone and fax number and electronic mail address of the information officer of the body and of ever deputy information officer;

 

(c)   the address of the established office of the public body at which the public may make requests and obtain information;

 

(d)   sufficient detail, including the nature of all formal and informal procedures available to facilitate a request for access;

 

(e)   a description of the subjects on which the body holds records and the categories of records held on each subject;

 

(f)   the most recent notice published under section 8, if any, regarding the categories of records of the body which are available without a person having to request access under this Act;

 

(g)   a description of the services available to members of the public from the body and how to gain access to those services;

 

(h)   a description of any arrangement or provision for a person by consultation, making representations or otherwise, to participate in or influence—

 

(i)   the formulation of policy; or

 

(ii)   the exercise of the powers or performance of duties, by the body;

 

(i)   a description of all remedies available in respect of an act or a failure to act by the body; and

 

(j)   such other information as may be prescribed.

(2) A public body shall update and publish its manual at least once in every two years.

(3) Each manual shall be made available as prescribed.

 

8.   Disclosure and automatic availability of certain records.

   An information officer shall, once in every two years, publish a description of—

 

(a)   the categories of records of the public body that are automatically available without a person having to request access under this Act, including the categories available—

 

(i)   for inspection under a written law other than this Act;

 

(ii)   for purchase or copying from the public body; and

 

(iii)   from the public body free of charge; and

 

(b)   how to obtain access to those records.

 

9.   Information in directory.

   The Minister shall ensure the publication in every directory issued for general use by the public, of the postal and street address, phone and fax number and electronic mail address of the information officer of every public body.

 

10.   Information officers.

   For the purposes of this Act, the Chief Executive of each public body shall be responsible for ensuring that records of the public body are accessible under this Act.

 

11.   Form of request.

(1) A request for access to a record or information shall be in writing in the prescribed form to the information officer of the public body in control of the record or information required and shall provide sufficient details to enable an experienced employee of the public body to identify the record or information.

(2) The form for a request of access prescribed under subsection (1) shall require the person requesting access—

 

(a)   to provide sufficient particulars to enable the information officer to identify—

 

(i)   the record or records requested; and

 

(ii)   the person requesting the information;

 

(b)   to indicate which applicable form of access referred to in section 20(2) is required;

 

(c)   to specify the address of the person requesting the information; and

 

(d)   if the request is made on behalf of a person, to state the capacity in which the person requesting the information is making the request.

(3) A person who, because of illiteracy or disability is unable to make a request for access in accordance with subsection (1) may make that request orally.

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