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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50086619
  • Date: 26 March 2007
  • Public Authority: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Summary: The complainant asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (‘FCO’) for any information that it held relating to the Rhodesian Army’s raid on Joshua Nkomo’s headquarters in Lusaka in April 1979. FCO provided the complainant with five documents relevant to his request but withheld others, citing section 27 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’). FCO considered that the balance of the public interest favoured withholding the information. The complainant sought an internal review of the decision, and asked FCO for the exact number of documents that had been withheld. FCO maintained the decision to withhold the information sought, saying that it was unable to provide detailed reasons without revealing the contents of documents (in effect a section 17(4) argument). FCO also declined to disclose the number of relevant documents, but agreed to do so following the Commissioner’s intervention. Having viewed the information, the Commissioner accepted that some of the information had been correctly withheld under section 27, but considered that some of it could be released. He criticised FCO for its failure specifically to cite section 17(4).
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]