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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04ACCRA2189
2004-11-05 11:36:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Accra
Cable title:  

GHANA'S TIP LAW: COMMENTS FROM THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Tags:   KCRM  KWMN  SMIG  PHUM  GH 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L ACCRA 002189 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/04/2014
TAGS: KCRM KWMN SMIG PHUM GH
SUBJECT: GHANA'S TIP LAW: COMMENTS FROM THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL

REF: A. STATE 225140


B. ACCRA 2044

C. ACCRA 2146

Classified By: PolOff Michelle Lee for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d)

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SUMMARY
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1. (C) PolChief met on November 3 with Ghana,s Attorney
General and Minister for Justice, Papa Owuso-Ankomah, to
raise concerns about progress on the draft bill of a
trafficking-in-persons (TIP) law. Owuso-Ankomah was familiar
with the pending legislation and its status, and said that if
the ministries involved could not reach agreement on
ownership of the bill by January, he would submit the bill
directly to Parliament himself. However, he said that it was
highly unlikely that the legislation would be passed by
Parliament before April due to other, more immediate, demands
that the newly-elected Parliament will have to address early
in 2005. End summary.



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PASSAGE OF TIP LAW BY APRIL UNLIKELY


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2. (C) Owuso-Ankomah was well informed about the proposed TIP
law, noting that Cabinet had initially decided to delegate
development of this legislation to the Ministry of Women's
and Children's Affairs (MOWAC). After consultative
workshops, the GoG realized that the TIP issue cuts across
several ministries, including the Ministry of Interior, the
Ministry of Manpower, Development, and Employment (MMDE), and
MOWAC. For this reason, he said these ministries needed to
reach consensus on the draft bill before it is submitted to
Cabinet for approval. Owuso-Ankomah acknowledged that the
MOWAC and MMDE were not in agreement over responsibility for
this issue, saying he did not want to get involved out of
&courtesy8 and &respect8 for a democratic bureaucratic
process. However, he told PolChief emphatically that if the
ministries do not reach consensus and move the bill to
Cabinet by January 2005, he would take the matter out of
their hands and submit the bill directly to Cabinet himself.



3. (C) PolChief explained that if the bill is not passed by
April, the USG would likely downgrade Ghana from Tier 1 to
Tier 2. Owuso-Ankomah said he saw no way the TIP law would
be passed in this timeframe, given what he saw as the
realities of Ghanaian politics in the next six months. Even
if the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) wins the election in
December and even if he submits the bill to Cabinet directly
himself in January, the Cabinet would be a lame duck body for
several months. All of the newly-elected president,s Cabinet
appointments will require parliamentary approval. This
approval of the Cabinet posts may not occur until the end of
the first parliamentary session (January-March), he thought.



4. (C) In addition to approving a Cabinet, the priorities of
the new legislature will be receiving the new President's
state of the nation speech, passing a budget, and forming
parliamentary committees. Owuso-Ankomah did not expect
Parliament to take up legislation until its second session
(April-July). He said he would ensure that the TIP
legislation would be sent to Parliament (after getting
Cabinet approval) &as one of our priorities for next
session8 but because of &timing and priorities8 it would
not likely be taken up until the April-July period. PolChief
noted that the Department would like raise the TIP issue with
Ambassador Poku in Washington.



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COMMENT


--------------------------





5. (C) Owuso-Ankomah was uncharacteristically open and
friendly, making time for PolChief in the midst of his own
parliamentary campaign and blocking all outside calls during
our meeting. Despite the Minister's pessimism on the TIP law
passing before April, we will continue to raise the TIP
legislation issue with the GOG and in Parliament, especially
with the new government after the election. His resolve to
break the deadlock between the line ministries if necessary
was welcome news and should help position this legislation -
which does not appear to be controversial within Ghana - for
passage within the next year. End comment.
YATES