The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has cited for prosecution 251 institutions classified as data controllers which have refused to register with the Commission or renew their data protection licences.
The decision to prosecute the said institutions followed their snubbing a fourteen-day notice served them by the Commission urging them to renew their licences.
Announcing the development after presenting the list of institutions to the Director of Public Prosecution on Wednesday, May 30, 2022, the Executive Director of the DPC, Patricia Adusei-Poku, said the Commission has about 800,000 such recalcitrant institutions in its database.
“So, since they have failed [to streamline their activities] with the Commission…we are here today to present their names to the Attorney-General through the Director of Public Affairs for prosecution,” she told the media.
According to her, the Commission and the country in general lost about GH¢1.5million in revenue as a result of the 251 ‘blacklisted’ companies’ refusal to streamline their dealings with the DPC.
“Since they became applicable to pay and they haven’t paid…we have been in discussion with the Office of Public Prosecutions to prosecute these defaulting institutions,” Mrs. Adusei-Poku stated.
One last chance
Recalling the discussions between the DPC delegation and Office of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Adusei-Poku said the director of Public Prosecutions urged the Commission to give the defaulting entities one last chance to right their wrongs.
The Commission will thus write again to the 251 institutions quoting section 56 of its Act – which gives the DPC power to prosecute them if they are defaulting, encouraging them to as a matter of urgency streamline their activities with the Commission.
“So, we are going to issue section 56 letters to all these defaulting institutions and give their key decision-makers a chance to respond to the defaulting charge we are bringing against them,” she said.
“These are institutions who we know are active in business because we have checked their list against that of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). We know they are active businesses with the GRA and paying taxes but have defaulted in their obligation to register with our Commission,” she added.
Creation of Fast-Track court
Meanwhile, the Commission has since start of this year commenced the process of getting the Chief Justice to establish a fast-track court for prosecuting defaulting institutions under section 46(3) of the DPC’s Act.
The Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, expressed his support for the move so long as enough evidence can be provided to justify setting up the fast-track court for that purpose.
In the meantime, she said, the Commission has suspended the licences of about 10 data controllers for breaching data privacy.