Maame Dokono Charged

Talk show hostess and proprietress of Peace and Love Orphanage, Grace Omaboe alias Maame Dokono was yesterday charged at an Accra Circuit Court in connection with the running of her orphanage which has been closed down since January this year, over allegations of child abuse. Maame Dokono, who has also been accuse of underfeeding the 60 children at the orphanage and failing to keep it neat, was charged together with Mary Anaglate, one of the workers of the home. The two were charged with three counts of operating a home without a license and exposing a child to harm and they pleaded not guilty to the offences, after which the trial judge, Mrs. Georgina Mensah-Datsa, granted them a GH�30,000 bail with two sureties. Daavi, another worker of the home, which is a non-profit making organization, is said to be on the run. The case has been adjourned to November 23, 2009. ASP Kofi Blagodzi, who narrated to the court events leading to the arrest of the accused persons, said Omaboe, 61, is the proprietress of the orphanage which is based in Adenta while Anaglate and Daavi were caregivers at the home as at January 2009. According to him, the orphanage was registered with the Department of Social Welfare in March 2005 and its registration expired on March 2006, after which its licence to operate was not renewed by Maame Dokono, �So from 2006, the NGO was not registered.� He said in 2004, a certain Nana Yaa Agyeman, who was the supervisor of the home, wrote to the National Commission on Children about the poor state of affairs at the home but no action was taken on the issue. The prosecutor was of the opinion that Omaboe failed to employ adequate number of persons to manage the home, adding that the children were underfed, malnourished and made to live in darkness while the rooms were poorly ventilated. In addition, ASP Blagodzi noted that as a result of the darkness due to nonpayment of electricity bills, the older children abused the younger ones.Explaining further, he told the court that Maame Dokono on December 31, 2008 travelled to Holland, leaving only GH�50 for the upkeep of the home and the situation got out of hand, leading to complaints being made to the Department of Social Welfare about shortage of food in the orphanage. �Subsequently, the department sent an officer to review the situation,� he added. Mr. Blagodzi observed that after the review of the situation, it was recommended that four of the children should be evacuated immediately and two babies, Daadum Omaboe and Barrack Omaboe, who were two years and six months old respectively, should be sent to other homes. They were therefore sent to another orphanage called Beacon House where it was detected that the two kids had been sodomised. Furthermore, he stated, during investigations, some of the children who were under 12 years of age, admitted that they took advantage of the darkness and lack of supervision to defile the younger ones, including the two children. In addition, he noted, further investigation into the matter revealed that a certain Joseph Kobi Omaboe and Adom Omaboe were put in boiled water by the said Daavi, leading to various degrees on injury to the children and eventually, the death of Joseph Kobi Omaboe on October 2007. He said the accused person was arraigned after police investigations. Maame Dokono, also an actress, was part of the campaign team of the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; and a critic of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which won the December 2008 General Elections. Omaboe, when her orphanage was being closed early this year, accused the ruling government, of which she was once a member, of which hunting, adding that she was innocent of the allegation leveled against her.