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22.02.2005 Crime & Punishment

Defence Counsel to submit written address by March 4

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Accra, Feb. 22, GNA - An Accra Fast Track Court hearing the Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL) divestiture case on Tuesday ordered a defence counsel to file his written address on or before Friday, March 4.

The court's order followed a plea by Mr David Lamptey, counsel for Hanny Sherry Ayittey, Treasurer of the 31st December Women's Movement, that he needed one week to enable him to complete and submit his written address.

Mr Lamptey blamed his inability to complete the address on schedule on the frequent power outage at his residential area. The court further ordered the prosecution to file its response within one week, and consequently adjourned proceedings to Thursday, March 17.

Three persons are being tried in the case for allegedly using their positions to indulge in corrupt practices during the divestiture of GREL.

They are Ayittey, Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, former Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) and Ralph Casely-Hayford, a businessman.

They are alleged to have influenced the DIC Board to divest GREL in favour of a French Company called Societ=E9 Industrielle Plantation Hevea (SIPH).

All the accused persons have pleaded not guilty to charges made against them and the court has admitted each of them to a self-recognisance bail.

Mr John-Hanson Senoo and Mr Tony Lithur are jointly representing Agbodo, while Mr Rodney Heward-Mills is defending Casely-Hayford. Mr Osafo Sampong, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Mr Augustine Obuor are both appearing for the State. Ayittey has closed her defence but Agbodo and Casely-Hayford are yet to open theirs.

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