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General News of Friday, 6 February 2009

Source: GNA

DOVVSU denies political considerations in "Mame Dokonu's" case

Accra, Feb. 6, GNA - The Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service on Friday denied that there were political considerations in the closure of the Peace and Love Orphanage owned by Ms Grace Omaboe, popularly called Maame Dokono, after an eight-year-old boy allegedly sodomised a six-month-old baby.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Owusua Kyeremeh, Regional Coordinator of the Unit, told the Ghana News Agency that the closure was meant to protect children in the orphanage.

Ms Omaboe, who was a staunch member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), switched allegiance to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the run-up to the 2008 elections.

Pictures of the six-month old baby showed a hole in the baby's anus making him pass faeces and blood. She said DOVVSU had charged Ms Omaboe with exposing a child to harm as stipulated by the Children's Act. Her self cognizance bail has been revoked and replaced with a bail of GH¢1,000 Ghana cedis with one surety to report to the Police Station three times a week due to new revelations coming up in the investigations.

Mrs Kyeremeh said under the Act, a person under 12 years cannot be charged with a criminal offence but the parent or guardian of the child could be charged because of negligence. She said the orphanage was operating illegally as its license had expired since March 2006.

Mrs Kyeremeh said on Thursday she went to the orphanage in the company of the Public Relations Officer of DOVVSU and the investigator to invite Ms Omaboe for questioning because she had failed to attend a planned meeting to face her accuser who wanted to confront her on some issues concerning her orphanage. She said a scuffle ensued when Ms Omaboe refused to cooperate with them and this triggered insults from Ms Omaboe. Mrs Kyeremeh said Ms Omaboe was not even detained but she was questioned. She said Ms Omaboe had admitted that she had not visited the orphanage frequently for some time and it was the assertion of DOVVSU that Ms Omaboe had been negligent.

Mrs Kyeremeh expressed surprise at the turn of events saying Ms Omaboe had cooperated since the baby was sent to the Police Hospital for treatment and the case was referred to DOVVSU. The police said Ms Omaboe even asked for assistance from the Department Social Welfare to take custody of the children because she could longer cater for them after which a caution statement was taken from her. Mrs Kyeremeh said the unit agreed and with the help of the Department of Social Welfare transferred seven of the inmates with the intention of the Department managing the home till all the children were relocated to be followed by the closure of her orphanage. The Regional coordinator denied claims by Ms Omaboe that attempts were made by the officials to forcibly arrest her even though she had informed them of her willingness to come to the office with her lawyer.