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General News of Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Source: GNA

Ghana and UK to exchange prisoners

Accra, Sept. 28, GNA – Mr Damain Green, United Kingdom (UK) Minister for Immigration, on Wednesday announced that his Government would transfer 80 Ghanaians who have finished serving their jail terms in that country to Ghana as part of a prisoner-swap arrangement.

The UK Minister, accompanied by Mr Peter Jones, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, said he had already had discussions on the issue with the Ghanaian Interior Minister on how to implement the programme.

Mr Green made the announcement when he paid a courtesy call on Mr Ebo Barton Odro, Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General in Accra.

The meeting discussion centered on issues of mutual benefits and co-operation between Ghana and the UK.

Mr Green said the UK government was pursuing a similar arrangement with other countries in Africa including Nigeria and that the exchange programme would be beneficial in the sense that former prisoners would be able to integrate successful into the society.

Mr Peter Jones, however, called for some amendment in the Prison Act of 2007 to allow for the exchange of the prisoners.

He urged the Ghanaian authorities to continue to pursue the case involving five cocaine suspects, who were recently discharged by the Circuit Court for want of prosecution.

He said the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) of the UK was still working on the matter to ensure that justice was done to the suspects, who were arrested in the UK, as well as their counterparts in Ghana.

Mr Jones also solicited for the support of the Ghanaian government to help to track the killers of a British national, one John Welsh, who was murdered sometime ago.

He assured Ghana of the UK Government’s support in terms of logistics and personnel to ensure that the prisoner exchange programme and other requests from them were carried out successfully.

Mrs Merley Wood, Acting Director of Prosecution, Ministry of Justice and Attorney General gave the assurance that her outfit would work to ensure that the prisoner-swap and the other tasks were implemented for the mutual benefit of the two nations.

Mr Ebo Barton Odro, Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General commended the UK government for its continuous support to the Ministry over the years and look forward for further co-operation.

He said the government did it best to arrest the five cocaine suspects with support from SOCA but expressed unhappiness for their discharge for want of prosecution.

He said the government would continue to pursue the issue and ensure that the law takes its course.

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