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Decision Summary

  • Case Ref: FS50184494
  • Date: 16 November 2009
  • Public Authority: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Summary: The complainant made a series of freedom of information requests to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office regarding a share sale in Zambia to which he was a party. The public authority disclosed a quantity of information to the complainant but withheld additional information under section 35(1)(a) (Formulation or development of government policy) and section 42(1) (Legal professional privilege). The Commissioner has now reviewed the withheld information and is satisfied that nearly all of it is the personal data of the complainant. Therefore the public authority was not obliged to confirm or deny whether the information was held under section 40(5)(a) (Personal information) of the Act. The request should have been dealt with as a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998. However the Commissioner found that one specific part of request submitted by the complainant did not constitute a request for his personal data. This was a request for details of corruption cases identified by the British High Commission in Kenya and passed to the Kenyan government. This request was refused under section 27(1)(a) (International relations) and the Commissioner has decided that this exemption was correctly applied. The Commissioner also found that in its handling of the complainant’s requests the public authority breached section 17(1) and section 17(1)(b) (Refusal of request) of the Act but requires no steps to be taken.
  • View PDF of Decision Notice: [1]