An Accra High Court has fixed February 7 to hear an application for stay of execution filed by the state in relation to an adoption of a child by a United States based couple.
This was after the court had overruled a preliminary objection raised by the couple’s lawyer, Mr Daniel Opare Asiedu that until Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection and Daniel Nonah Gbeabu, the Director of Social Welfare purged themselves of contempt charges he filed against them they could not be heard by the court.
The court presided over by Mr Justice J.K Dorgu held that the contempt application and stay of execution were two separate matters and they ought to be heard on their merits.
According to the court there was no guarantee that the couple would wait for that long.
Mr Asiedu earlier held that it was important the contempt application was heard before anything else.
He said the contemnor could not disrespect the court’s orders and come before it again to ask it to do something for them.
“He who calls for equity must come clean,” he argued.
Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, a Deputy Attorney General argued that no court had heard the contempt application against the Minister and the Director adding that it was just an application that had been filed by Mr Aseidu.
He said one cannot be cited for contempt if the issues pertaining to the contempt application had not been looked into by the court,” Mr Dame added.
Ms Djaba and the Director of Social Welfare have been cited for contempt of court over an adoption case involving the US-based couple.
Mr Asiedu, counsel for the applicants is asking the court to convict the Minister and Daniel Nonah Gbeabu for refusing to respect a court ruling on the matter in December 2017.
An affidavit of the Applicants states that 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 told the court she was burdened with taking care of them and was happy about the adoption.
In April 2017, Ethan arrived in Ghana to pick up the child but the Minister prevented him from doing so, he returned to the US without the child.
Later that year, Hilary also arrived in Ghana for the child and was told that the Ministry has place a ban on adoptions.
Following the Minister’s refusal to have the child released, the lawyer for the couple filed for a judicial review at an Accra High Court.
The court presided over by Mr Justice Dorgu ruled that the Ministry had no mandate to ban adoptions, so the child should be given to the couple.
After the court ruling, steps were initiated by the Director of Social Welfare, Daniel Gbeawu to hand over the child to the new parents, but he later told them the Minister was going to file for a stay of execution so he must not release the child.
The child is being kept at Osu Children’s Home hence the Minister and the Director of Social Welfare were sued for contempt of court.
The applicants are of the opinion that if the two are not jailed, they will never obey the court order to hand over the child to them.
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