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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ACCRA791
2005-04-26 18:04:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Accra
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR MEETS GHANA'S MINISTER OF JUSTICE:

Tags:   CJAN  GH  KCRM  KWMN  PGOV  PHUM  SNAR 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ACCRA 000791 

SIPDIS

PASS L-LEI:D. BUCHHOLZ AND K. MUELLER
DOJ/OIA FOR P. ROWAN AND A. IVANOVA
LAGOS FOR DEA AND LEGATT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/26/2015
TAGS: CJAN GH KCRM KWMN PGOV PHUM SNAR
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MEETS GHANA'S MINISTER OF JUSTICE:
EXTRADITION, TIP, HUMAN RIGHTS

REF: A. ACCRA 451


B. STATE 41922

C. 04 ACCRA 2503

D. ACCRA 302

Classified By: Ambassador Mary C. Yates for reasons 1.5 d and e.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ACCRA 000791

SIPDIS

PASS L-LEI:D. BUCHHOLZ AND K. MUELLER
DOJ/OIA FOR P. ROWAN AND A. IVANOVA
LAGOS FOR DEA AND LEGATT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/26/2015
TAGS: CJAN GH KCRM KWMN PGOV PHUM SNAR
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MEETS GHANA'S MINISTER OF JUSTICE:
EXTRADITION, TIP, HUMAN RIGHTS

REF: A. ACCRA 451


B. STATE 41922

C. 04 ACCRA 2503

D. ACCRA 302

Classified By: Ambassador Mary C. Yates for reasons 1.5 d and e.


1. (SBU) Summary: On April 20, Ambassador and PolChief met
with Ghana's new Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Ayikoi Otoo and his new Deputy Minister to discuss
extradition matters, pending legislation and several human
rights cases. The Ambassador formally asked about the status
of the Grace Coleman extradition request (there has been no
movement.) The GOG reportedly wants to do more
consultations with stakeholders before moving forward with
the trafficking in persons bill (although it is not clear the
minister's information on this is accurate). The Ministry
has begun looking at our draft Letter of Agreement on Law
Enforcement. End summary.

--------------
Extradition Issues
--------------


2. (U) The Ambassador thanked Otoo for the GOG's
cooperation on the extraditions of Amcit Carmella Warren
(extradited on 1/12/05) and Ghanaian Emmanual Abraham
(extradited on 3/25/05). Minister Otoo did not know the
status of our extradition requests for Evan Kawesi Attah and
Elizabeth Manu-Owusu (ref A). The Ambassador noted she was
formally asking the status of our extradition request for
Member of Parliament Grace Coleman, noting that lack of
movement on this request was damaging Ghana's image in the
USG, especially in relation to cooperation on
anti-trafficking. Ghana needs to do something to move
forward on this case, she stated. Otoo responded that, as
far as he knew, this case had not been discussed in the top
levels of government, including in Cabinet. However, he said
he would take note of our interest and get back to us.


3. (C) The Ambassador gave the Minister a copy of the 2003

draft bilateral extradition treaty we had given to his
predecessor. She noted our continued interest in updating
the current 1931 bilateral treaty. Otoo made no substantive
comment. (Note: PolChief later that day got an update from
Rebecca Adjelo, the prosecutor in charge of extradition cases
in the Ministry's Prosecutor's Office. She said the Attah
and Manu-Owusu extradition efforts are still going through
the courts. The defense is putting up many obstacles and the
cases are going to the High Court the week of April 25. On
Grace Coleman, she said all the legal paperwork is ready for
extradition. It is only pending a political decision to act
on the case. She offered to help put a fire under the
extradition treaty negotiation. End note.)

--------------
Trafficking in Persons
--------------


4. (U) The Ambassador asked about the status of Ghana's
anti-trafficking in persons (TIP) legislation. The GOG wants
to do more consultations with civil society stakeholders
before moving the bill to Cabinet and then to parliament, he
said. He hoped this could be done before Parliament
reconvenes on May 10. He acknowledged receipt of the draft
Amendment to the Letter of Agreement (LOA) on Law Enforcement
(which was also sent to the Minister of Interior), outlining
training and technical assistance focused on the
investigation, arrest, prosecution and conviction of
traffickers (ref B). He had received a note from the
Minister of Interior suggesting they meet to form a common
GOG position on the LOA. Otoo said he had initial concerns
about how to handle the victim assistance component of the
LOA and about how the lack of a TIP law might impact LOA
commitments.

--------------
Other Legislation
--------------


5. (U) Otoo confirmed that the Freedom of Information Act
and Anti-Money Laundering bills have not been passed by
Cabinet and need to have more civil society input. The
Domestic Violence bill needs much more public discussion.
The Whistle Blower Act is before Cabinet and he expects it
will be sent to Parliament soon.

--------------
Human Rights Cases
--------------


6. (U) Otoo confirmed that the GOG had formally charged and
detained three suspects in the case of the death in military
custody of Alhaji Issah Mobila, a local politician in the
Northern Region (ref C). The suspects are awaiting trial.
He was convinced there were no other outstanding suspects in
the case. When asked about the investigation of the 2002
murder of the Ya Na chief, Otoo said suspects had been
acquitted and this was now a Ministry of Interior matter.


7. (U) When asked about the recent rise in violent crime,
Otoo said he was worried about the vigilante lynching of
suspected armed robbers and concerned by the public
celebration of a policewoman whose recent actions led to the
mob lynching of robbers.


8. (U) Minister Otoo drew our attention to his work on a
report on the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), which
completed its work in October, 2004. The GOG plans to
establish a reparation fund to compensate victims of human
rights abuses since independence. It is unclear where the
money will come from, although he hoped perpetrators would
contribute anonymously. The International Center for
Transitional Justice is helping the GOG identify how to raise
the funds. Otoo noted that the GOG also envisions
non-monetary gestures of reconciliation such as letters of
apology and awards. (Note: Otoo publicly announced this
initiative on April 22. End note.)


9. (U) The Ambassador asked about the role of the Attorney
General's office in combating corruption. Otoo said the
Ministry's Serious Fraud Office had the lead, but that his
ministry had just formed an Internal Anti-Corruption
Committee, composed of civil society and government members.
He hoped we might support this group to improve skills in
fighting corruption.

--------------
Comment
--------------


10. (C) The meeting with Otoo was disappointing. He was
not well briefed on our issues, despite our having raised
some of the same matters in a February meeting (see ref D,
also for bio). Otoo still appears to be settling into being
a minister, joking about getting used to courtesy calls and
asking us for help with funding back-up generators for his
ministry. Some of his answers were very partisan (pro-NPP).
Many of the draft laws that we care about, including the TIP
bill, do not appear to be as far along as we hoped (although
the minister's information about the TIP law conflicts with
other information we have received that the law will be going
to Cabinet soon.) Otoo had no issues to raise with us,
except the request to fund a generator. At the least, we
hope we put some energy behind the LOA and the extradition
treaty.













YATES