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General News of Saturday, 14 November 2015

Source: GNA

Ghana, Britain sign agreement to transfer prisoners

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Ghana and the British government have signed Convicted Persons Transfer Agreement to execute transfer of prisoners serving their sentences in the two countries to their country of origin to continue their sentences.

Ghana Parliament passed the Act in the 2007 to allow it receive its citizens convicted abroad to continue serving in Ghana and vice versa.

Dr Dominc Akuritinga Ayine, Deputy Attorney-General, signed on behalf of the Government while Dr Grant Shapps, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth, signed for his country.

Dr Ayine said they entered into the bilateral agreement to effect the law and the United Kingdom is one of the first countries they have signed the agreement with.

He said the object of the Transfer of Convicted Persons is to enable Ghanaians convicted outside the country serve their sentences in Ghana and other foreign nationals convicted in Ghana to serve their sentences in their own countries.

He noted that last year August, when President John Dramani Mahama visited that country, the discussion came up and he (President) promised to see to it that his outfit execute the agreement.

He noted that under the agreement prisoners with the right to election or have legal status could decide to serve their term in Ghana or Britain, but if the prisoner is subject to deportation order he or she would be transferred without his consent.

Dr Ayine said it is even better for Ghanaian prisoners to come and serve their prison terms home because of socio-cultural factors.

“Loneliness alone could kill them abroad as their families will not be in position to finance their visit to that country to see them,’ he said, adding that that opens widows for Ghanaian prisoners abroad to serve their sentences in Ghana.

He therefore gave the assurance that government will ensure that the agreement was executed in good faith by ensuring that transferred prisoners continue to serve their sentences to the later.

“We will transmit a copy to the Speaker of Parliament and asked that process of ratification be expedite to benefit both countries,” he added.

Dr Shapps also expressed the hope that the two countries would ensure the success of the agreement.