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18.02.2009 Crime & Punishment

Trial of Ataa Ayi halted

By GNA
 
Ataa Ayi in police escort 
Ataa Ayi in police escort

The trial of Aryee Aryeetey, aka Ataa Ayee, and two others who are being held for conspiracy and robbery, was on Wednesday halted midway at an Accra Fast Track High Court.

This followed the denial by two of the accused persons, Michael Tagoe, aka Nii Armah, and Mohammed Musa Azangbego, aka Madi, that the content of the statements given to the police on different dates was true.

According to the two they were beaten and forced by the Police to append their signatures. These were done after the Police had taken down their names, place of abode and their ages.

The disruption occurred when prosecution led Detective Chief Inspector Cosmos Ahiakpa, an investigator, testified before the court.

The main investigator was said to be on assignment in Sudan and would be returning next month.

Tagoe and Musa claimed the statements read out by Detective Inspector Ahiakpa were not theirs although the statement bore his signature.

The court therefore asked the detective to produce the independent witnesses, namely, Dan Antwi and Philomena Mensah on February 23.

When sitting resumed on Wednesday, Mr David Annan, a lawyer, turned up and represented Ataa Aryee, now serving 70 years and 20 years jail terms on separate charges of robberies.

According to Mr Annan he got wind of the trial in the media hence turned up to represent Ataa Aryee.

Reading out Tagoe's statement Detective Chief Inspector Ahiakpa said Tagoe said he was a 22 year-old taxi driver but had no car of his own.

According to him, Tagoe said he sometimes drove his friends' cars whenever they were indisposed as a “spare” driver.

The investigator said on July 24, 2004, Tagoe said Ataa Aryee called him on phone to meet him at the Trade Fair site.

At the Trade Fair site Ataa Aryee arrived in a Honda Civic saloon car driven by Prince Isaac Arthur one of the accomplices, now deceased.

Detective Chief Inspector Ahiakpa said Tagoe maintained that he and the occupants went to Osu and parked near Barclays Bank, Osu branch.

Ataa Aryee went to the baking hall and as soon as he spotted Mr Sam M. Darko, the complainant leaving the baking hall, he phoned them to move in, the investigator read out.

Tagoe further stated that as they followed the complainant, he pushed the complainant and snatched the bag containing 10 million cedis and not 15 million cedis as the prosecution said.

Ataa Aryee, who was armed with an AK 47, pointed it at the complainant and they drove to La.

On their way to La, Tagoe said they shared the money and he received 2.5 million cedis (GH¢250 cedis).

Tagoe said he went home while Ataa Aryee who handled the rifle drove home.

He said any time he enquired about Ataa Aryee's place of abode, he told him that he was a “wanted man” hence he did not reside at one place.

Others standing trial with Ataa Aryee are Michael Tagoe, aka Nii Armah, Prince Isaac Arthur, aka Mustapha, now deceased, and Mohammed Musa Azangbego, aka Madi.

The three have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and robbery and they have been remanded into prison custody.

The prosecution has it that on July 24, 2004 Mr Darko went to the Osu branch of Barclays Bank and withdrew 15 million cedis (GH¢1,500 cedis) for Capital Refrigeration, a firm based in Accra.

The prosecution said as the complainant was returning to his office, Tagoe came out of a Honda Civic car with registration number AS 3078 S which was being used by the accused persons.

Tagoe, the prosecution said, walked to the complainant, pushed him down and picked the money.

The complainant attempted to raise the alarm but Ataa Ayee came out of the car and pointed his AK47 rifle at him.

Tagoe and Ataa Aryee joined their colleagues in the car and they bolted with the money.

The prosecution said on August 24, 2004, Tahoe was arrested and during Police investigation, he admitted the offence and mentioned the names of other accused persons, who also admitted the offence when they were arrested.

GNA

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