Child Trafficking: HANCI Boss Confesses
Dr. Roland Kargbo, executive director of the controversial Help A Needy Child International (HANCI) organization has, after being grilled by human right activist Emmanuel Hindowa Saidu of Foundation for Democratic Initiative and Development confessed he engaged in child trafficking and blamed former Attorney General Tom Carew whom he said did not ensure that the biological parents were informed prior to the children being taken abroad.
In a more radical approach to human right issues in Sierra Leone, Mr. Saidu yesterday met with Dr. Roland Kargbo to further investigate claims that children from Makeni have been sold to childless couples abroad by his organization.
Following the meeting which took place yesterday, Sierra Express Media was informed about the outcome. According to information gathered, Dr Roland Kargbo agreed that he had indeed engaged in sending kids abroad for adoption to childless couples wanting children. The HANCI boss had also informed the human right activist that the issue of adoption started back in 1996 during the height of the war when one of his British partners had helped him establish an orphanage in Makeni, but had advised him to look for another partner to take up the running cost.
Kargbo said that after numerous searches he was able to contact an adoption agency in the United States known as the Maine Adoption Placement Services, MAPS, which he said expressed an interest in seeking families in the US ready to adopt the kids through an “inter country adoption and orphanage programme.”
Dr. Kargbo confessed that he had indeed sent 23 children to the United States for adoption but failed to mention if the parents were informed about the nature of this type of adoption. He however said as a form of apology that all the people who adopted the children are whites and therefore when the kids grow up they will realize that their foster parents are whites and will therefore ask to know their biological parents. “In the long run these children will notice the difference in complexion and will ask questions about there origin,” he said.
He stated that before the children were taken off to the United States, a hastily convened supervision court order was provided by the Magistrate Court in Makeni after the adoption agreement was read in the presence of the parents whom he said were asked whether or not they were willing to give their children to foster parents.
It is upon this consent that the then Attorney General Tom Crew signed a release letter handing over the children to HANCI with full authority to take them anywhere they please, Dr. Kargbo said.
However, having realizing that the idea of just reading an agreement in English to a mostly illiterate assembly of parents shows there was some dubious deal involved, Dr Roland said. He further regretted why the then Attorney General did not call on the biological parent of these children in informing them that all enquires about their children should be done at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs as stated in the agreement.
Responding to Mr. Hindowa Saidu’s question as to how far HANCI has done in clearing his organization’s credibility, he stated that he has written to the Ministry of Social Welfare two weeks ago for their intervention but to no avail as there has not been any answer from them or even an acknowledgment in receipt of the letter.
The HANCI boss further noted that year in year out the foster parents of the children send parcels to the Social Welfare Ministry, with a recent photo of children attached, but that neither the parcels nor the pictures ever meet the biological parents.
Meanwhile, Mr. Saidu in an exclusive interview revealed that investigations so far conducted expose HANCI as having corruptly manipulated the biological parents who are all illiterates in understanding that it is not an adoption program but rather a child care unit and that all the kids will be residing in Makeni in the home established by HANCI.
One of the aggrieved parents has meanwhile stated that Dr. Kargbo should be in jail as that is the only way he will speak the truth. “We were fooled into handing our children to him and he is now telling us that because it is white men and women to whom our children were sold, they will grow up and ask for us, but in case these white people lie to the children that all their parents died in the war, what will HANCI do?” he queried angrily.
The parents have meanwhile vowed to continue the matter and they will seek the services of an international lawyer to make a fresh case in the law courts. “Dr. Kargbo is a child seller who is not fit to be in civilized society but should instead be among criminals in the Pademba Road where he rightly belongs,” one parent informed Sierra Express Media.
Dr. Kargbo is yet to be seen as he is reported to be hiding from the aggrieved parents.
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