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General News
Ataa Ayi goes ''mad'' 8/27/2008

Ghana’s most notorious convict, Ayi Ayeetey alias Ataa Ayi, who is serving a 76-year jail-term at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons for multiple armed robberies, has bounced back in court with a foul and venomous tongue.

Last week Wednesday, Ataa Ayi cursed the prosecution, investigators and police for hauling him before court again after leaving the courtroom. “You foolish people, God go punish all of you,” he said.

This provocative ranting did not however unsettle the calm nerves of the police, who together with the prison wardens, quietly guarded the notorious robber and his colleagues to their waiting vehicle back to prison.

When his case was called on Monday, Ataa Ayi was absent; hence the case has been adjourned to today August 27 for hearing.

Ataa Ayi, 36, was arraigned before an Accra Circuit Court together with four others, Raymond Ame, 31; Sarfo Sampong, 38; Michael Tagoe, 33 and Nana Osei Razak, 36; for allegedly robbing a businessman of an amount of GH¢14,400.

They have been charged with two counts of conspiracy to rob and robbery.

The fifth accused, Nana Osei Razak, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment whilst the rest pleaded not guilty to both charges.

When the trial Judge, Justice Nicholas M. Abodakpi, a High Court Judge sitting as an additional Circuit Court Judge asked the five accused persons whether they had something to say, the first two gave their statements and when it came to the turn of Ataa Ayi, he retorted:

“About what?”, prompting the Judge to call for the charges to be read to him again.

Led in evidence by a State Attorney, T. Amponsah, the first prosecution witness, Musah Hassan, told the court that he is a businessman operating at the Central Business District of Accra.

According to him, he had a call from an Indian customer on May 17, 2004 requesting for 8,160,000 CFA and he arranged to meet the friend at the Osu RE branch of the Standard Chartered Bank the following day May 18 with the said foreign currency.

He said he was accompanied by a relative called Abdul-Fatau Mohammed to the premises of the bank, where he gave the foreign currency to the customer at about 12:00pm and in return received the cedi equivalent of ¢144, 500,000 now GH¢14,450.

The witness stated that he only took GH¢5.00 out of this amount to buy fuel.

Unaware of the fact that the five accused persons were hovering around the premises of the bank, he said he placed the remaining amount in a paper carton and put it in the boot of his car and set off to Accra Central through the Osu cemetery road.

According to him, when he got to the cemetery, the traffic light at the place signaled red and therefore he had to stop, not knowing that four of the accused persons were trailing him and his nephew Mohammed in a white Opel Astra car with registration number GW6638.

The witness said whilst he was still stuck in traffic, three of the accused, wearing masks, moved straight to him with two of them pointing pistols to his head and that of his nephew.

The third accused person, Ataa Ayi, who was armed with a rifle, gave warning shots and removed the car keys of the witness.

The witness told the court that the accused persons used the key to open the boot of his car, took the money, rushed to their car and sped off.

According to him, he could not even move his car because the robbers took away his car keys also.

The prosecution had earlier told the court that the accused persons later converged on Nungua Coco Beach where they shared their booty.

It said the fifth accused, Nana Osei, did not physically take part in the robbery. However, evidence adduced indicated that his car was used in the operation.

The prosecution said he was aware of the operation because Ataa Ayi had called him on his cell phone to bring his car for the robbery, which he obliged.

According to the prosecution, Nana Osei joined his colleagues after the operation and was given his share of the loot.

It stated that all the accused persons confessed to the crime and in their statements to the police, gave vivid accounts of the operation.

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