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Adoption Case: Gender Minister Otiko On The Dagger As Court Cites Her For Contempt

Gender and Children’s Affairs Minister Otiko Afisa Djaba and the Director of Social Welfare Daniel Nonah Gbeabu have been cited for contempt of court for over an adoption case involving two US-based couple.

Lawyer for the Applicants, Daniel Opare Asiedu is asking the court to jail the Minister and the Director of Social Welfare for refusing to adhere to a court ruling on the matter way back in December 2017.

The affidavit on the case, a copy of which is available to Adom News, indicates that the Applicants, Ethan Michael Ram and Hilary Holt Ram secured a Koforidua Circuit Court approval for the adoption of a child in Ghana (name withheld) back in February 2017.

The child is one of nine children of a single mother who, Adom News learnt, told the court she was burdened with taking care of them and was happy about the adoption.

In April 2017, first Applicant arrived in Ghana to pick up the child but the Minister prevented him so he returned to the US without the child.

Later that year, the second Applicant also arrived in Ghana for the child and was met with the same fate with the excuse that the Ministry had placed a ban on adoptions.

Following the Minister’s protest, lawyer for the couple filed for a Judicial Review, on which an Accra High Court, presided over by Justice J. K. Dorgu, ruled that the Ministry has no mandate to ban adoptions, so the child should be given to the adoptive couple.

After the court ruling, steps were initiated by the Director of Social Welfare, Daniel Gbeawu to hand over the child to the adoptive parents, but he later told them the Minister called him on phone asked him to stop because she was going to file for stay of execution.

Till date, the child is being kept at Osu Children’s Home, while the adoptive couple are back in the USA.

The Minister and the Director have therefore been sued for contempt of court and the applicants contend that if the two are not jailed, they will never obey the court order to hand over the child to them.

The case will be heard Monday, January 29, 2018.
Lawyer detained
Meanwhile, Lawyer for the applicants, Daniel Opare Asiedu told Adom News he will also petition the President against the Minister because he was recently arrested and detained overnight just to prevent him from going to court to move the application for contempt against the minister.

He explained that hearing on the contempt case was originally set for January 19, 2018, but the day before, he was invited by the Police CID and he went voluntarily around 11 am. He was kept waiting till 7pm and was told that Ministries police had brought a case of forgery of adoption document against him so he had to be detained.

According to him, the document they claimed he forged was a document completed by the mother of the child in front of a Commissioner of Oaths so he was taken aback as to why the police would hold him instead of the Commissioner of Oaths if indeed they found something wrong with the document.

Lawyer Daniel Asiedu said he suspected foul play so he immediately called his colleague lawyer to go to court on his behalf the following morning and tell the judge what had happened, to prevent the judge from throwing out his application for contempt against the Minister.

He said the police made him write a statement, took him to his office and home and searched both places but found nothing and released him at 5pm that day.

The lawyer said he thought all that was just a charade just to cover up the abuse of power.

“First of all, I find it strange that the complainant against me was the Ministries police, the same place the first applicant, Ethan Ram, was wrongfully detained when he first arrived in Ghana for the child.

“I had no doubt in my mind that someone in a higher office was abusing their power just to prevent me from showing up in court to move my application,” he said.

Daniel Asiedu said he will present his petition to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and copy the Chief Justice, Attorney-General, and the President of Ghana Bar Association for them to see the level of abuse of political power in a democracy.

Meanwhile, he is still required to visit the CID every now and then for reasons he still does not know.

He said he suspects the police will make further attempts to stop him from showing up in court to move his application for contempt against the minister on January 29, 2018, so he wants the president and those who matter to know about this.

Efforts to reach the police CID also proved futile