Yaw Twumasi (not his real name), an orphan and inmate in the Echoing Hills Village Orphanage, has recounted being beaten, arrested, detained and forced to write a statement at the Madina Police Station to admit that he helped Tiger Eye PI and some German volunteers in secretly filming the recent investigative piece, “TORTURE HOME”
Tiger Eye PI had a call from Yaw Twumasi of issues relating to its newly released investigative piece, “TORTURE HOME” and how it has negatively affected him as an inmate of the home. When Tiger Eye PI decided to meet him and listen to his story, this is what Yaw recounted:
The Interrogation and Physical Assault
According to Yaw, the director of Echoing Hills Village and also a retired Man of God, Reverend Lamina Lawrence, with his assistant and other caregivers of the home in a frantic effort to redeem their image upon realisation of the then soon-to-be aired “TORTURE HOME” exposé, forced him to admit to have helped the Tiger Eye PI team in its “TORTURE HOME” expose. He continued that they also asked him to falsely confess to whoever comes asking that he was tricked by some German volunteers who once came to the home to get them the videos of everything that goes on in the orphanage in exchange for a mobile phone, a laptop, a secret camera and a chance to travel overseas.
As said by him, this took place after all but one of the inmate gathered with various forms of evidence pointed to him as the one responsible for the secret filming even though he denied the accusations. “This was when Rev Lamina and Evans, a caregiver of the home, gathered about six male grown-ups in the orphanage and subjected them to a thorough interrogation to find out if Tiger Eye PI team was aided from within the orphanage and who that might be if there was indeed a help”, he added.
He continued that Mr Lamina together with Evans tried to cajole him into admission of the act and falsely accuse the German volunteers of being the brain behind the act as he was their only pillar of hope in redeeming their images but he stood his ground and kept denying.
According to Yaw, the retired Man of God then told him that, they’ve invited a CID and that he should confess to the CID of secretly filming the activities of the home which he sent to the volunteers in Germany.
“I was then asked to accuse the German volunteers of tricking me into doing that as this will tarnish the images of the German volunteers who were, on the other hand, trying to tarnish the images of Ghanaians, that’s the administrators of the Echoing Hills Village”, he said.
He further said, the freelance pastor then promised to give him whatever his heart desires including helping him travel overseas if he agrees and do their bidding.
Yaw Twumasi also told us that his constant denials of the filming infuriated Brother Phillip, a social worker and the deputy to Rev Lamina in the orphanage, and as a result started hitting him severely in the back with his hand. Phillip, according to Yaw, demanded that Mr Lamina and the rest of the people restraining him should allow him to beat Yaw to pulp as his constant denials keep infuriating him.
“Phillip then went for a wooden chair and tried to hit me with it but was once again restrained by the people around with Rev Lamina advising that they should cautiously deal with me as I am their trump card in this image redemption issue and that it won’t help their case should I be forced out”, Yaw added.
The CID, the Detention and the Forced False Statement
He continued that Lamina, when the CID finally arrived from the Madina Police Station, tried to narrate to him why he was invited and all that has happened but was asked to allow him to speak for himself since he was present. After some time without a word from me, the CID threatened to put me behind bars if I don’t speak and he indeed carried out his threat as I was thrown into the cells of the Madina Police Station around 10pm for not talking. “This was after the CID had written a statement which I know nothing about for me after asking for only my name, age and hometown“, Yaw recounted. After some beatings from a cell inmate as a welcome ritual, another cell inmate who knew me from outside intervene for the others to stop the beating.
Kobby, one of the home’s caregivers seen in the “TORTURE HOME” piece being accused by a sobbing child of not living with them in the home but always comes around to beat them, “visited the following morning with a GHS 2 worth of oat porridge and bread and promised to make sure I leave the cell that day. It was however later discovered that Kobby was supposed to buy me a breakfast worth GHS 10 and not GHS 2.”
At the CID’s office the following morning after Kobby’s breakfast, “I decided to succumb to the pressure and do their bidding to prevent being thrown back to the cell. I however made my statement without mentioning the names of the volunteers they wanted me to implicate. The Rev Minister in his quest to implicate those volunteers asked me why I didn’t mention the names of the volunteers and helped me with the names Dudu Akbar, Geisha Lee and Serwaa (a Ghanaian) when I pretended to have forgotten the names. The statement was added to the one written by the CID the previous night’s statement written on my behalf. The Rev Minister also had his statement written but for him by his driver, Pastor Ernest, who is also a pastor and a proprietor of a school. The CID then told me that I’ve been granted a GHS 1000 bail paid by Rev Lamina.”
The Reporter and The Facebook Saga
The boy continued, “when they took me back to the orphanage from the police station, the Rev Minister again invited to the home where a reporter from a Madina-based radio station came in and record my admission of the secret filming and that I was tricked into doing that by the German volunteers. The reporter after recording the admission advised Rev Lamina and Evans to ask me to open for them my Facebook accounts, where I’ve been chatting with Dudu, Geisha (the Germans) and Serwaa, so that they will be able to communicate with them in my guise for more information. I again did their bidding to prevent any other harassment. The Reverend, Evans and the reporter, after I have logged into myFacebook accounts started chatting with Geisha who had earlier sent me a message asking of my wellbeing. They replied the message but didn’t receive any other response from Geisha as she wasn’t online at that moment. I then later informed Serwaa to inform Geisha and Dudu of the development and ask them not to respond to any message they get from my account as it might not be from me.
“I was then taken to (a human rights lawyer name withheld) office where Rev Lamina and Evans went to sought for legal support in their battle to redeem their images and in revenge to taint that of the German volunteers and also have a go at Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his work.
“In the office, Lamina again narrated to the counsel of the newly released “TORTURE HOME” and how according to Lamina some German volunteers influenced me, who he introduced as being part of the secret filming of the activities of the home. He told the lawyer that they gave me a laptop, a mobile phone and a secret camera and also promised sending me overseas.”
The lawyer name withheld after the narration demanded of the Man of God how he comes into the picture and the Man of God told him they needed his support to fight the exposé and also to redeem their image. According to Yaw, the lawyer then told Rev Lamina that he’s heard about the video but hasn’t watched it, and if it’s as he, Lamina, had narrated to him then Anas erred for not contacting him, Lamina, before the release of the expose. The boy continued that Lawyer then asked Lamina whether he was around when the boy was eating his faeces and when the man of God answered “no”, the counsel then concluded that he hasn’t erred in anyway then as the boy is not his responsibility. The counsel then agreed to Lamina’s request and assured Lamina that he, will claim to have known the administrators of the Echoing Hills Village for a very long time, hence, the claims against them were false. Also, the caregivers seen in the video abusing the children did that behind the leadership of the home as the leadership, which Lamina is the head, knows nothing about the incidents.
The Video Conference Call with Cordell Brown and Dennis Neek
Twuamsi further stated, “I was then taken back to the orphanage where a video conference call was made between the founder of the Echoing Hills Village, Cordell Brown, his successor as head after his retirement, Dennis Neek with their colleagues in Ghana, Rev Lamina, Evans and Phillip to discuss the “TORTURE HOME” exposé. Cordell and Dennis asked for explanations about the issues in the Torture Home exposé which Lamina and his colleagues tried as much as possible to lie to convince Cordell and Dennis into believing there’s nothing wrong with the orphanage home. Lamina and his colleagues then invited me to come and exchange pleasantries with Cordell and Dennis and Lamina and his colleagues in the process introduced me to them as the one the Germans influenced to do their bidding for them to tarnish their image.”
Brother Phillip Threatens to Bring in Thugs to Beat Yaw Twumasi to Pulp
“Brother Phillip, approached me the following morning to congratulate me for my contribution in Anas’ exposé. On three occasions, I didn’t respond to Phillip’s congratulatory greetings as I didn’t know what I have done to warrant such congratulations. I then asked Phillip the reason behind the greetings which he explained that it’s for my part played in Anas’ video. For me not to attract another beating from Phillip, I responded to the greetings.
“Phillip then threatened and assured me that he’s arranging with some thugs from Agbogbloshie to help him inflict on me a beating of a lifetime in the orphanage.
“I, with a better knowledge of what Phillip is capable of doing and the thugs he’s talking about, decided to and eventually packed my luggage and left the home to seek refuge where Phillip and his thugs can’t get to me nor hurt me.”
Running Away from The Home
“I was meanwhile informed that Rev Lamina, Evans, Joseph and Forster (also caregivers of the home) who were seen in the expose vigorously abusing children have all since Saturday night, 29/6/2019, run away from the home and haven’t returned, with their whereabouts yet unknown, which is unusual of them as that was their permanent place of abode.”
Torture Home is a new investigative piece from the stables of Tiger Eye PI that touches on the abuse and neglect of the children of the Echoing Hills Village Orphanage that even led to a four-year child filmed eating his own faeces and some children getting injured as a result of the abuse. The expose also addressed the issue of stealing and diversion of donations to the Echoing Hills Village Orphanage at Madina, Accra to the private stores of the Director of the home, Rev Lamina Lawrence, while others were sold to the public populace.