It could be recalled that a five year old daughter of one John Bestman, a Sierra Leone living in Holland who also happens to be a Dutch citizen was allegedly raped couple of months ago. The matter was reported by the father who made the discovery to the Ministry Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs and the Family Support Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Pademba Road.
According to what AYV gathered, the father of the victim came to among other things, take her daughter along with him to Holland in order for her to acquire Dutch citizenship but however discovered that that the poor child had been raped.
However, in his wisdom, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs recommended that the child be taken to the Don Bosco Fambul for care as the investigation continues particularly when the two parents were not in good terms and were also in total disagreement over who the child was supposed to be with.
At Don Bosco however, the victim in her testimony stated that she was tampered with by someone in her grandmother’s resident (Mother of his father). However, when interviewed at the Ministry, and the CID, she reportedly said that two individuals tampered with her. According to her, the aforesaid mentioned person and her step brother (her father’s son) tampered with her.
According to the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mustapha Bai Attila, the mother of the child complained that she was refused access to see and talk to her daughter whilst at the Don Bosco home but that her father had free access to see and talk to her.
With such conflicting testimonies coupled with the claims made by the mother of the poor child, the Ministry discovered some form of discrepancies regarding how victimized inmates are being interviewed at the Don Bosco home and as a result the Deputy Minister, in a letter from the Ministry dated, 29th September 2015, instructed that Don Bosco furnish the Ministry with a comprehensive list of number of children in their custody; ( age, sex, date of addition and duration of stay); details of their management staff including social workers with their names and qualifications accompanied with police clerance /due diligence on every staff and date of children unified from January this year to date.
Also according to the Minister, the Ministry was also not satisfied with the manner in which the victim was interviewed at the FSU. “We discovered that there were no qualified social workers attached to the FSU to carry out such sensitive investigation,” stated the Deputy Minister.
This decision by the Ministry was according to the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mustapha perceived by certain local tabloids as intimidating the Don Bosco Fambul.
However, in response to the Ministry’s letter, Don Bosco replied in a letter dated 6th October, 2015 stating among other things, that the institution was very much aware of the care and protection regulations established for children’s homes and that the organization wishes to express willingness at all times to comply on demands made by the Ministry as a law abiding institution. “…We wish to intimate you that we are assiduously working on your request and will tender in evidence the various documents requested soonest for your perusal,” excerpt of the letter stated.
Meanwhile, the matter has been investigated by the FSU and the file sent to the Department of Public Prosecution for advice. From what the AYV has so far gathered, the DPP has instructed that the matter be charged to court.
However, the Ministry insists that the two alleged accused persons be investigated and if possible charged to court if justice is to be seen done.
In an interview with AYV, the Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mojoi Kaikai stated that he stands by the decision taken by his Deputy Minister and emphasized that the two accused persons must be investigated and based on the evidences, be charged to court or exonerated.
This issue has attracted several media houses both print and electronic who according to the Deputy Minister had begun publishing and broadcasting stories that are completely untrue and for which, he said a complaint against these media hoses has been made to the Independent Media Commission (IMC).
However, in an interview with the aggrieved father of the alleged raped child, he did not come to neither smuggle her daughter to Holland neither intended to disrespect government Ministers but rather to ensure that justice is seen done. He however admitted that he intended to take her daughter with him in order for her to grab the Dutch citizenship before the age limit of seven years and that he had no intention of smuggling her own child as perceived by the Ministry and some members of the public.
He further stated that whilst in Holland, he had been supporting the child on a monthly basis and that the decision to take her daughter was for the good of the child and not for any ulterior motive. He further lamented that the matter is yet to be charged to court adding that he could not locate both his daughter and mother and that her daughter, has for whatever reason been relocated from the school he use to visit her.
In response to these claims, both the Minister and his deputy intimated that when the Ministry decided that the child be handed over to her mother, the father refused to sign the consent form even when he had earlier stated that he had no problems with that.
Meanwhile, the mater is reportedly left hanging as a result of disagreement between the Ministry and the police and the father on the other hand. The Ministry still insists that both the accused persons be charged to court whilst the police on the other hand has reportedly concluded investigation on the first accused who was earlier arrested, detained and later bailed. He is currently on a warrant of arrest as his whereabouts remains mystery.
AYV will endeavor to get the latest development from the police at it continues to pursue the matter to its logical conclusion.