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23.11.2004 Crime & Punishment

I was asked to proceed on leave-Ayittey

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Accra, Nov 23, GNA-Hanny Sherry Ayittey, Treasurer of the 31st December Women's Movement (DWM) standing trial with two others in the Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL), divestiture case at an Accra Fast Track Court, opened her defence on Tuesday.

She told the Court on Tuesday that she was asked to proceed on leave as Managing Director (MD) of GIHOC Distilleries Company Limited, after a change of government in January 2001.

Ayittey told the Court presided over by Mr Justice J C Amonoo-Monney, an Appeal Court Judge with an additional responsibility on the case as a High Court Judge, that when the ruling New Patriotic Party took over in January 2001, she received a letter from the Minister of Trade and Industry asking her to proceed on leave as MD of GIHOC.

Ayittey said she reacted to the letter, because the GIHOC Board appointed her and not the government.

She told the Court that her entitlements as the MD of GIHOC had still not been paid to her.

Turning to her role in the 31st DWM, Ayittey who was being led in evidence by Mr David Lamptey said she was elected as the Finance and Projects Coordinator of the Movement after its establishment as a non-governmental organisation in 1982.

Ayittey dilated on the activities of the Movement, and said since its inception, DWM had made immense contributions towards the improvement of the socio-economic lives of most Ghanaians. Asked by counsel whether the Movement was still functional, Ayittey replied in the affirmative and said DWM was making positive strides towards national development.

On trial with Ayittey are: Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, former Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), and Ralph Casely-Hayford, a Businessman.

Mr John-Hanson Senoo is defending Agbodo, whilst Casely-Hayford has Mr Rodney Heward-Mills as his counsel.

The three are being tried for their alleged involvement in corrupt practices to influence the DIC Board to divest GREL in favour of Societe Industielle Plantation Hevea (SIPH), a French company. They have all pleaded not guilty to their various charges, and the court has granted each of them a self-recognisance bail. Further hearing of the matter was adjourned to Wednesday, November 24, for Ayittey to continue with her evidence. Mr Lamptey had completed cross-examination of Agbodo.

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