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04.05.2005 Crime & Punishment

Ata Ayi gets lawyers, pleads not guilty

By GNA

Accra, May 4, GNA - Aryee Aryeetey, alias Ata Ayi, the man the Police describe as the most notorious armed robber, has at last obtained the services of counsel.

But the man, who Ghanaian Lawyers have been reluctant to defend in court does not have one lawyer but three. Two of them appeared for him in the first case while the other appeared for the second case. Mr Johnny Hanson and Mr David Annan appeared for Ataa Ayi in the first case in which he is standing trial at an Accra Fast Track Court for two robbery cases at Dzorwulu in Accra three years ago while Mr Joseph Akyeampong represented him in a robbery case at Taifa Junction, also in Accra.

At the last sitting Ata Ayi and two of his accomplices, namely Roger Koblah Agbodoga and Raymond Ameh had no counsel to represent them. Only Samuel Kweku Annan, another accomplice, had counsel. The four, who are jointly charged with conspiracy and robbery, pleaded not guilty.

The Court presided over Mr Justice Baffoe Bonney refused them bail and remanded to reappear on June 6.

Mr Hanson and Mr Annan, who appeared for Ata Ayi in the first case, prayed the Court to granted them an adjournment to enable them to consult their client and take further actions as to whether to pleaded for mitigation or otherwise.

Counsel lamented to the Court over the publicity given to the their client's case and pleaded with the Trial Judge to disabuse his mind over alleged confession statements made available to the press. Counsel pleaded with the Court to provide them with the necessary documents so that they could conduct their defence properly and ensure that justice was done to all parties.

Mr J. K. Yeboah, who represented Annan, alias Sammy Tugah, told the Court that the case brought against his client was a cooked up one. According to him his client was a respected man, who was travelling abroad to conduct his business and, therefore, knew nothing about the charges brought against him.

Mr Yeboah prayed the Court to grant his client bail, as it was unfair for him (Sammy Tugah) to be kept in prisons for over two years without being tried.

The Prosecution, however, opposed to the bail plea stating that there had not been any unreasonable delay in the trial saying they were ready with their witness.

The Court said it would disabuse its mind of any media trial that had gone on earlier stressing that it would convict only after the Prosecution had been able to lead evidence to establish its case. The case of the Prosecution is that on October 14, 2003, Mr Bernard Boadi Agyeman, Managing Director of Prism Consult Limited, sent one of his workers, Ilaisu Mamudu, to cash a cheque for 70 million cedis from the Opeibea Branch of the Standard Chartered Bank, near Kotoka International Airport.

The Prosecution said after cashing the money, which was put in a bag, Mamudu saw Mr Isaac Yanney, Managing Director of Investhec Company Limited, who said he had an appointment with his boss (Mr. Boadi Agyeman) at his office at Dzorwulu.

Mr Yanney, therefore, offered Mamudu a lift in his car and the money was put into the boot.

On their way to the Office, the accused persons, who were using a salon car trailed the vehicle until they got to the office at Dzorwulu. The Prosecution said as soon as they parked their vehicle, the accused persons parked behind them, got off their car and started shooting indiscriminately.

The accused persons ordered their victim and other bystanders to flee or risk being shot.

The Prosecution said the accused persons fired several times at the boot to force it open, took the bag containing the 70 million cedis and fled.

On December 18, 2003 Sammy Tugah and Agbodoga were arrested upon a tip-off and during interrogation mentioned Ameh and Ata Ayi as their accomplices.

In the second case Ata Ayi and eight others appeared at the same Court for robbing a Businesswoman of 65,000 dollars and 45 million cedis at Taifa Junction on February 5, 2003. The accomplices include Nana Yaw Owusu; Yaw Asante Agyekum; Stephen Nyarko; Frederick Lamptey Annan, alias Nunnboe and Kwabla Agbodoga. The others are Samuel Kweku Annan, Raymond Ameh and Nana Osei Razak.

They have all pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and robbery. 04 May 05

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