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08.03.2008 General News

Pastor, 3 others held over secret naming of baby

By Ghanaian Times
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The secret naming of a baby without "the mother's consent by a father who had originally denied responsibility for the pregnancy, has landed him and three others, including a pastor in trouble with the law.

The Police Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) has arrested the four on charges of exposing a child to harm and forced removal of child.

The four, who are in police custody are James Kwaku Ghartey, 40-years, an Administrative Assistant with the Christ Apostolic Church; Comfort Amoanimah, 53, the baby's maternal grandmother, Rev. Ghartey, father of James Ghartey who is charged with abetment; and Eric Brown, who allegedly threatened the police with a cutlass when the arrests were being made.

Narrating the incident to the Times yesterday, Inspector Irene Oppong, Public Relations Officer of DOVVSU, said the complainant in the case is a 25 year old hairdressing apprentice whose name has been withheld for security reasons and who lives at Alajo while her boyfriend, Ghartey, the first accused, lives at Madina Old Road.

Inspector Oppong said sometime last year, the girl became pregnant but only realised it when the pregnancy was four months old.

When she informed Ghartey he denied responsibility but later gave her GH¢40 to abort the pregnancy, with the explanation that he is a married man and cannot marry another woman. The girl however refused to abort the pregnancy.

Ghartey is said to have consulted the girl's uncle as to what he should do but after that, he never came to the house again.

When the girl gave birth, her mother Amoanimah, invited her to come and stay with her at Agege-Mamprobi so that she could help her look after the baby.

She then allegedly informed Ghartey that her daughter was now living with her.

Attempts by Ghartey to name the baby were rejected by the girl's father who said the man had not married his daughter to warrant a naming ceremony. Following this, a hot argument ensued between the girl and her mother. While the girl opposed the naming ceremony, her mother supported it.

On March 3, the girl's mother, allegedly, secretly took the three-month old baby to Ghartey's family house where a naming ceremony was performed. After that, the girl's mother found it difficult to return home for fear of a confrontation with her husband so she allegedly left the baby with Ghartey.

For three days the baby was with the man where the baby was fed with artificial baby milk until Thursday, March 6, when the DOVVSU was informed and followed up to Madina to arrest the baby's father, the girl's mother and the third person who is charged with abetment of crime.

Further investigations revealed that the man had been giving money, though not on regular basis, to the girl's mother but never got to the girl, the police said.

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