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14.12.2004 Crime & Punishment

"I am tired", Sherry tells Fast Track Court

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Accra, Dec. 14, GNA - The trial of Hanny Sherry Ayittey, Treasurer of 31st December Women's Movement, and two others at an Accra Fast Track High Court on Tuesday ended abruptly when she told the court: "I am tired."

Ayittey, who had been inaudible during the trial, beckoned to her Counsel, Mr David O. Lamptey and after consulting her, he informed the court about her situation.

Ayittey, who was drinking water intermittently from a bottle during the trial, is charged with corrupt practices during the divestiture of the Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL).

Mr Justice J.C. Amonoo-Monney, an Appeal Court Judge sitting as a High Court Judge, adjourned the case to Friday, December 17. The two others are Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, a Former Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) and Ralph Casely-Hayford, a Businessman.

The three are charged for using their various positions to influence the DIC Board, to divest GREL in favour of French Company called Societe Industrielle Plantation Hevea (SIPH).

They have all denied the charges and the trial judge has granted each of them a self-recognisance bail.

Led in her evidence-in-chief by her Counsel earlier, Ayittey told the Court that Dr Albert Owusu-Banarfo, a Consultant of SIPH, lied to the Court in his evidence when he said that he had met her (Ayittey) about four times before appearing in Court.

She explained that Dr Owusu-Banarfo rather wanted to see the Former First Lady and President of the DWM, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings but because she was not present at that time so she was asked to stand in for her.

Referring to the evidence of Dr Owusu-Banarfo, who was the Third Prosecution Witness (PW3), Ayittey said she did not receive any money or gift from him.

She said in October 1996, she did not receive 250,000 dollars from Dr Owusu-Banarfo adding that it was rather Madam Georgina Okaiteye, Member of the DWM, who told her that she had donated to the Movement. Ayittey said: "It is the Prosecution's case that in the month of October 1998 Dr Owusu-Banarfo gave me 150 Pounds" and described this as a blatant lie.

She expressed surprise that Dr Owusu-Banarfo was unable to identify her in the courtroom, even though, he claimed he had known her before they met at the Court.

Ayittey, therefore, told the Court that Dr Owusu-Banarfo gave evidence against her only to incriminate her in the case. Mr John-Hanson Senoo and Mr Rodney Heward-Mills are representing Agbodo and Casely-Hayford, respectively, while Mr Osafo Sampong, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), is appearing for the State.

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