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08.12.2004 Crime & Punishment

Popeler, Banarfo and Okaiteye told lies in court - Ayittey

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Accra, Dec. 8, GNA - Hanny Sherry Ayittey, Treasurer of the 31st December Women's Movement (DWM), on Wednesday told an Accra Fast Track trying her and two others on charges of corruption that three of the Prosecution Witnesses told lies to the Court.

She denied ever meeting them in May 1995 as they made the Court to believe, and stated that the first time she met the three Prosecution witnesses was rather in March 1995.

Ayittey made these remarks when she continued her evidence-in-chief in the Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL) Divestiture Case. She is being tried with two others for their alleged involvement in corruption during the privatisation of GREL.

The two are Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, Former Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) and Ralph Casely-Hayford, Businessman.

The three were alleged to have used their various positions to influence the DIC Board to divest GREL in favour of a French company called Societ=E9 Industrielle Plantation Hevea (SIPH).

They have all pleaded not guilty to their charges and the trial judge, Mr Justice J. C. Amonoo-Monney, an Appeal Court Judge with additional responsibility on the case as a High Court Judge, has admitted each of them to a self-recognisance bail.

Continuing with her evidence under cross-examination by her counsel, Ayittey told the Court that Mr Etienne Marie Popeler, Former Managing Director of GREL, Dr Albert Owusu-Banarfo, Consultant of SIPH and Madam Georgina Okaiteye, member of the 31st DWM, came to lie to the Court when they told the court that they had a meeting with her in May 1995.

Ayittey stated that she met Mr Popeler, Dr Owusu-Banarfo and Madam Okaiteye, for the first time in March 1995 and not May, pointing out that at that time she was not a member of the DIC, and for that matter she could not have influenced the Board.

She told the Court that she never entered into any discussions with them, and when she met Dr Owusu-Banarfo in her office in the company of Madam Okaiteye, they rather discussed the DWM's reforestation programme in which the SIPH consultant said the company was interested. Further hearing of the case has been adjourned to Thursday, December 9, for Ayittey to continue with her evidence-in-chief.

Mr David Lamptey is counsel for Ayittey, while Agbodo and Casely-Hayford have John-Hanson Senoo and Rodney Heward-Mills as their counsel, respectively.

Mr Osafo Sampong, Director of Public Prosecutions, is appearing for the Republic.

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