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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (Cap 496)​ entitles eligible persons to submit FOI requests to all established Public Authorities.  As one of the designated Public Authorities, ORiip is bound to conform with the provisions of such Act and related subsidiary legislation.  In particular, Article 17(1) of the Act requires ORiip to provide related information including (but not limited to) its responsibilities, the categories of documents which it holds and information on how members of the public can submit official FOI requests.

Information on the ORiip can be found here

The Categories of documents held by ORiip are as follows:
 

        a)     Reports drawn up by the Regulator related to the Individual Investor Programme

b)    Correspondence received / issued by the ORiip

c)     Documents related to Complaints submitted to the Regulator

d)    Checklists used by the ORiip for vetting of applications

e)     HR Files pertaining to ORiip Staff

f)      Copies of related Legislation (Main and Subsidiary)​

 
To date ORiip does not hold any manuals (or similar types of documents) which contain policies, principles, rules or guidelines in accordance with which decisions are made in respect of members of the public.

With regards to submitting an FOI request, it is pertinent for one to note the following:

In order to be eligible to submit FOI requests, a person has to be a resident in Malta and have been so for a period of at least five years. Such person has to be also either a citizen of Malta or a citizen of any other member state of the European Union or a citizen of any other state the citizens of which have a right, in virtue of any treaty between such state and the European Union, to be treated in Malta in the same manner as citizens of member states of the European Union.​

Application (or Complaints) are to be sent in an electronic format, either by e-Mail (at oriip.opm@gov.mt), by using ORiip's "Contact Us" Form​ or directly through the Freedom of Information Website.   In such latter case applications can be sent from here whilst complaints can be sent from here

 

ORiip's opening hours are from Monday to Friday: 

                                     - Between 1 October and 15 June:             7:45am - 12:30pm; 1:15pm - 5:15pm

 

                                     - Between 16 June and 30 September:      7:30am - 1:30pm

 

When filling in the application form applicants will be required, apart from providing contact details, to give an indication of the document/information that they wish to obtain. They will also need to indicate the format in which they wish to receive such document/information, namely as a hard copy/print-out, as an electronic copy, in the form of a summary/excerpt of contents or by on-site inspection of the document / information in question.   

In essence, one may ask for any article that is held by ORiip and on which information has been recorded in whatever form, including electronic data, images, scale models and other visual representations, and audio or video recordings, regardless of whether the information can be read, seen, heard or retrieved with or without the aid of any other article or device. Furthermore eligible persons have the right to request information (in the form of a written statement) on a decision or recommendation made in their respect or in respect of a body corporate which they represent.

FOI requests will be duly acknowledged by the ORiip. The acknowledgement form will include a unique reference number and an indication of the date by when the response will be given. The form shall also include specific information related to the ORiip, such as its address, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, opening hours and also details of its internal complaints procedure.

On receipt of the application form, the ORiip will verify whether the request qualifies as an FOI request and will inform the applicant accordingly if this is not the case. If it transpires that additional information/documentation is required, applicants will be contacted by the ORiip and they will be provided with all possible assistance in order to ensure that such request complies with the provisions of the Act. This notwithstanding, when submitting an FOI request, applicants are not required to provide any justifications for requesting any particular documentation / information.

The ORiip will also verify whether the requested document / information is held at its end. If this is not the case ORiip will seek to identify the proper entity to whom the request should be submitted and will transfer such application accordingly (informing the applicant in the process). If no alternative entity is identified (meaning that the document/information cannot be traced at any Public Authority) the applicant will be informed accordingly.

Once it establishes that a request is an FOI request and can be addressed from its end, the ORiip will determine whether it can provide the applicant with the document / information requested (in full or in part) or whether it will refuse the request. Prior to taking a decision in this regard, the ORiip shall consider whether any of the exemptions listed in the FOI Act apply. The ORiip will submit notification of whether the request will be accepted or not within 20 working days from its receipt however it can apply an extension of up to a maximum period of 40 workings days.

When submitting a response to the Applicant, the ORiip shall indicate whether any fees apply. If applicable, such fees shall cover only the costs related to making a document available to the applicant, namely man-hours of processing, costs of photocopies/faxes and digital media and costs related to inspections. Notwithstanding the above, the total applicable fee shall not exceed €40. No additional fees can be incurred for submitting applications or complaints.  The application of fees is regulated by L.N. 158 of 2010.

If the applicant is not satisfied with the response provided by the ORiip vis-à-vis its request, the applicant is entitled to submit a complaint to it. The ORiip shall inform the applicant about the outcome of the complaint within 10 working days from its receipt.

If, subsequently, the applicant remains unsatisfied with the response received, he/she may lodge an appeal with the Information and Data Protection Commissioner.

If the applicant remains dissatisfied with the outcome of the appeal he/she may appeal to the Information and Data Protection Tribunal and, subsequently, to the Court of Appeal. 

Complaints may be submitted for the following reasons:

                                    ·         The request has not been deemed to be an FOI request

                                    ·     The ORiip has applied an extension to the 20-working day deadline to notify the                                                      applicant whether access would be given to the document/information requested

                                     ·     The ORiip has imposed a fee which is deemed to be excessive

                                     ·     The document is not being provided in the requested format

                                     ·     The request is being refused

 

One may also submit a complaint if the ORiip does not respect the 20 working day deadline (or the deadline indicated in the notification of extension, if applicable) for submitting a response.

TThe Complaints FoWhenever the ORiip communicates a decision to an Applicant that access to a document / information will be granted, the applicant shall also be invited to effect payment of fees (if applicable).  At this stage ORiip can only accept cheque payments (i.e. not cash).  These are to be made payable to “The Principal Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister”.  

If cheques are sent by post these are to be sent to the afore-mentioned address.  If, on the other hand, the applicant calls physically in order to deposit the cheque, he/she may opt to either go physically to the Finance and Administration Directorate within the Office of the Prime Minister or to the ORiip and deposit the cheque at its premises.  In any case, cheques are passed on to the afore-mentioned Finance and Administration Directorate for processing and for the issuance of a receipt.

Within 10 working days following payment, the ORiip will provide the document / information in the same format as the applicant had originally requested or, if this is not possible, in any other format deemed appropriate by the ORiip. Applicants who submit requests through the FOI portal (www.foi.gov.mt) may be provided with the possibility of downloading the document / information directly from the site.

 

If no fee will be charged, the document / information will be provided within 10 working days following notification. The request shall be considered to have been abandoned by the applicant if payment is not effected within 20 working days following notification.

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Information:

 Contact Name
The Office of the Regulator, Individual Investor Programme
2nd Floor, Evans Building,
Merchants Street,
Valletta

 Telephone
+356 22004381