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29.11.2005 General News

Ata Ayi opens defence

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Accra, Nov. 29, GNA - Aryee Aryeetey described by the Police as Ata Ayi on Tuesday denied robbing Prism Consult of 70 million cedis with three others at Dworwulu when he opened his defence at an Accra Fast Track High Court.

Aryeetey denied owning a gun saying: "I am not a Policeman to own a gun and even use it."

He is standing trial with three others for conspiring and robbing a firm of 70 million cedis at Dworwulu with accomplices - Roger Koblah Agbodoga, Raymond Ameh and Samuel Kweku Annan aka Sammy Tugah - they have all pleaded not guilty and are currently on remand.

During cross-examination by Mrs Evelyn Keelson, a State Attorney, Aryeetey said he had not sworn to any affidavit to change his name to Ata Ayi neither had his parents also changed his name.

Aryeetey, who denied owning a car and talisman, said it was Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kofi Boakye, who ordered that the talisman should be put around his neck.

He said when the talisman was put around his neck, ACP Boakye ushered in journalists into his office to take photographs of him. Aryeetey alleged that ACP Boakye threatened to kill him just as one Hope was killed.

He disagreed with Prosecution that as soon as he arrived from Nigeria, the Police arrested him.

He said on October 13, this year he slept at Lashibi and stayed there from 0600 hours to 1800 hours the next day. Aryeetey said although he was born and had lived in Accra, he did not know Opeibea House, from where he allegedly traced some people before robbing them, adding that he hid not even know his accomplices until they were all arraigned.

Aryeetey said he had no group, which he led to engage in robbery, stressing that he did not go to Prism Consult with an AK 47 rifle to rob. He described Prosecution Witnesses and the Police as liars. He disagreed with the Prosecution that all that he had told the court formed part of his desperate attempt to run away from the truth. Aryeetey indicated that he did not receive 20 million cedis as his share after the alleged robbery, adding: "I did not give any share of the said money to any informant."

He said he did not give statements to the Police apart from his age.

He said after some Policemen had beaten him, the Police tagged him as "Ata Ayi." In his evidence in chief, Aryeetey, a Christian, said on February 28, this year, he was at Teshie Cold Store when the Police stormed his residence.

According to him, the Police demanded for Ata Ayi but he told them that he did not know any one known as Ata Ayi. "I told them that I was called Aryee Aryeetey."

Aryeetey said the Police searched his room but they did not find anything but escorted him to the Regional Police Station. He said although he requested for his counsel as well as his parents, the Police did not mind him.

Aryeetey alleged that he thumb printed about 30 statements under duress pointing out that there were no independent witnesses. He said the supposed independent witness was among the Policemen, who assaulted him. He maintained that on October 14, 2003 he was at Lashibi and was nowhere near the robbery scene at Dworwulu. He said on March 30, 2005, nobody identified him when he and others were paraded.

"I am not Ata Ayi, it is only the Police who make out the Ata Ayi they are looking for," he retorted.

The case of the Prosecution was 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 of 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 Mr. Boadi Agyeman at his office at Dzorwulu and, therefore, offered Mamudu a lift in his car. 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 of Prism Consult 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 of Yanney's car to force it open and 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 they mentioned Ameh and Ata Ayi as their accomplices.

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