Wednesday, 25 November 2009
News FLASH: Maame Dokono Trial Begins Date: Tuesday, 24 November 2009
CHESTER RONNA, the first witness in the trial of actress and talk show hostess Grace Omaboe, alias Maame Dokono, and one of her workers, in connection with the neglect of her Peace and Love Orphanage, yesterday told the court that she did not know her (Omaboe).
Chester, the Director of a children’s home at East Legon, said she had only heard of Maame Dokono but had never seen her before.
Evidence-in-chief ASP Kofi Blagodzi told an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Mrs. Georgina Mensah-Datsa that the witness said on January 13, 2009 she received a telephone call from two ladies who asked for directions to her orphanage.
She said the ladies came to her and asked if she could take two children from Peace and Love, but she declined saying she would take them only if the ladies had a letter of approval from the Department of Social Welfare.They came two days later with the letter.
The witness said when they first brought the children she was not at home, and when she arrived the diapers of the children were being changed. She said she realized one of the children, a six-month-old called Barrack, had passed bloody stool.
According to her, she realised that the child was still passing stool frequently and whenever he did so part of his anus came out and he cried a lot. She thus took the two children to the Police Hospital and saw a paediatrician, Dr. Awusi, who referred her to Dr. Amoah where it was revealed that they had been defiled.
The judge asked the worker from Peace and Love, Mary Anaglate, whether she had any questions for the witness, but she said she had none because she did not know the witness and was not a worker but someone who was also helped by Maame Dokono. The case has been adjourned to December 1 2009.
The two have pleaded not guilty to three counts of operating a home without a license, and exposing a child to harm. They pleaded not guilty to the offences, after which the trial judge granted them a GH¢30,000 bail with two sureties each.
ASP Kofi Blagodzi who narrated the events leading to the arrest of the accused persons to the courts said Omaboe, 61, is the proprietor of the orphanage, which was registered with the Department of Social Welfare in March 2005. Mr. Blagodzi said its license to operate expired on March 2006, after which it was not renewed by Maame Dokono, so from 2006 the NGO was unlicensed.
He said in 2004 a certain Nana Yaa Agyeman, who was the supervisor of the home, wrote to the National Commission on Children about the poor state of affairs at the home, but no action was taken on it.
The prosecutor was of the opinion that Omaboe failed to employ adequate number of persons to manage the home, adding that the children were underfed, malnourished and made to live in dark, poorly ventilated rooms.
ASP Blagodzi added that as a result of the darkness due to non-payment of electricity bills, the older children took advantage of the younger ones by sexually abusing them.
Explaining further, he told the court that the Maame Dokono on December 31, 2008 left for Holland leaving only GH¢50 for the upkeep of the home. The situation got out of hand, leading to complaints being made to the Social Welfare about shortage of food in the orphanage. They consequently sent an officer to review the situation.
Mr. Blagodzi continued that it was recommended that four children be evacuated immediately. Two of the children; Daadum Omaboe and Barrack Omaboe, who are two years and six months old respectively, were to be sent to other homes. They were thus sent to another orphanage called Beacon House where it was detected that the two kids had been sodomised.
Furthermore, he stated that during investigations it was found that some of the children under 12 years of age admitted to taking advantage of the darkness and lack of attention to defile the younger ones, including the two children named above.
He also noted that further investigations revealed that a certain Joseph Kobi Omaboe and Adom Omaboe were put in boiled water by a certain Daavi, leading to them to sustaining various degrees of injury. This led to the death of Joseph Kobi Omaboe on October 2006. The orphanage has since been shut down.
*****Horror!!! The idea that a six months old baby has been abused / sodomized regularly; left damaged [physically, mentally and emotionally], that this precious baby was changed by ‘HUMANBEINGS’ regularly –and no one alerted the authorities to the pain and suffering this child sustained in the so called care of this so called ‘children’s Home’ [I’m sure this isn’t an isolated case] –has shocked me to the core!! God help these children –and provide them with safe homes. I pray also that the truth will come out –and that the authorities will intervene. And that it will set of a ‘chain reaction’ –bringing the needs and welfare of abandoned, homeless and children in children’s homes [in Ghana] to the forefront –and cause debate and changes.