Fast Track Court is Back: Sherry Ayittey on Trial
After months of political wranglings and legal debates over the constitutionality or otherwise of the Fast Track High Court leading to the 6-5 Supreme Court decision, it has bounced back with the resumption of high profile cases. At exactly 12 noon on Wednesday, the court presided over by Mr. Justice J.C. Amonoo Monney called the case involving Ms Sherry Ayittey, Director of Finance and Projects of the 31st December Women’s Movement (DWM) and three others who have been charged with bribery and corruption in the divestiture of the Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL). Those charged with Sherry Ayittey are Emmanuel Agbodo, former Chief Executive of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), Sati Ocran, a member of the DWM and Ralph Casely-Hayford, an Engineer. All the four accused were present in court with their counsel. Justice Amonoo-Monney however adjourned proceedings to July 29, to enable the prosecution to bring a principal witness, Mr. Brobby who was the Managing Director of the company at the time of the Divestiture to be cross-examined by Defence Council.
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) appeared for the Republic while Mr. Jonny Quarshie Idun, Mr. Heyward Mills and Mr. Osei Bempah appeared for the accused persons. Before the Fast Track Court was declared unconstitutional on February 28, 2002, the prosecution told the court that the four accused, through bribery and corrupt means, helped a French company to win the divestiture of GREL.
According to the prosecution, Sherry was tasked by Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, President of DWM, to collect an amount of $1 million from the French Company for the Movement before GREL was handed over to it. Sherry was again asked to negotiate 15 per cent of the shares from the French company as dividend for the DWM if the deal went through.
When the money was finally withdrawn, it was given to Dr Owusu Barnafo, a consultant to GREL and a total of $800,000 was paid to Sherry. The prosecution said Sherry clinched the deal involving former Trade Minister, Dan Abodakpi who was given ¢70 million. The former DIC Boss, Agbodo was also given a total of ¢125 million to influence him when he was being difficult in the transaction.