Protracted adoption case; Girl's father pops up

Thu, 8 Mar 2018 Source: Kweku Asare Bediako

The protracted case of an American couple seeking to adopt and travel out of the country a 4-year-old girl has seen a new twist as the father of the girl has eventually surfaced to claim custody of his biological daughter.

The latest development would likely boost the confidence of the Gender Ministry to prevent the American couple from taking the girl away from the shores of Ghana.

“I would support the Gender Ministry to fight for my daughter. This adoption should not be allowed to go since I do not support it. It was the mother who gave her away without my consent”, Mr. Samuel Aikins, the father of the girl told peacefmonline.com.

It would be recalled that the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, recently filed an application for stay of execution pending appeal of an order by an Accra high court which granted an American couple the chance to travel out of the country with a 4-year-old girl they adopted.

The mother of the girl who is said to have died in December last year is on record to have given three of her children including twins for adoption after she was given some undisclosed amounts of money.

The couple, Ethan Michael Ram and Hilary Holt Ram, in February 2017 secured a ruling by a Koforidua circuit court to adopt the 3-year-old child (name withheld).

They were, however, denied the opportunity by Madam Otiko Djaba to travel with the child to the USA because the adoption did not go through the statutory processes.

Not satisfied with the decision, the couple, through their lawyer, Daniel Opare Asiedu (a former employee Gender Ministry), proceeded to an Accra high court presided over by Justice Justin Kofi Dorgu, which ordered the Gender Minister and the Director of Social Welfare to release the child to the new parents.

Ms. Otiko Djaba subsequently filed for a stay of execution of that order, against the backdrop that it wanted to appeal the order.

The Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, moving the application, prayed the court to set aside its initial order, considering the effects it will have in the event that the appeal succeeds.

According to him, the couple did not comply with the statutory conditions stated in the Children's Act before the order of Mandamus was granted by the court, which resulted in the order permitting the couple to travel with the child.

He averred that although the Koforidua high court granted the order, “in so far as the applicants (couple) failed to meet the conditions of the Act do not have any locus to file the application for mandamus to enforce the orders of the Koforidua high court.”

Mr. Dame indicated that the application for mandamus filed by the couple fell in the realm of the Children's Act as amended by the Children's Amendment Act 2016 (Act 937), and was premature because the application fell in the category of inter-country adoption.

Mr. Dame indicated that the court ought to have considered whether all the statutory preconditions were followed before granting the order of mandamus.

He, therefore, prayed the court to set aside the ruling so that he could file an appeal, adding that if the principle is not applied, the Republic of Ghana, will be denied its statutory role of protecting the interest of children in accordance with Section 2 of the Children's Act. Source: Peacefmonline.com

Source: Kweku Asare Bediako

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