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General News Sun, 3 Nov 2002

31st DWM Storm Court

A LARGE group of the members of the 31st December Women’s Movement (31st DWM) last Friday, November 1, 2002, stormed the Accra Fast track High Court trying Sherry Ayittey and three others for bribery and corruption.

The 31st DWM members filled the court room to capacity whilst some of them waited outside as a result of unavailability of seats in the room.

A member of the group who spoke to Daily Guide and pleaded anonymity, noted that they have come in their numbers to offer support to Sherry Ayittey who was the former treasurer of the 31st DWM.

She described Sherry’s trial as politically-motivated.

Meanwhile, at the trial itself, the third prosecution witness, Dr Albert Owusu Barnafo told the court that he was appointed as agent by the French company, Societe Industrielle Plantation Hevea (SIPH), to deal with the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited (GREL).

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Under cross-examination by Quarshie-Idun, counsel for Sherry Aryittey, Dr Barnafo denied the assertion that before the representatives of SIPH came to Takoradi to consult with him as an agent, he has already been to Paris.

He, however, conceded that he was invited by SIPH to Paris, and that his ticket and hotel bills were met on his behalf by SIPH.

Dr Barnafo denied that he conspired with Mr Etiene Popeler, former managing director of GREL to compile list of monies to be paid to members of the 31st DWM and some influential people to prejudice the divestiture of GREL in support of SIPH.

The prosecution witness explained that what he did was only to discuss the level of payments to certain people with Mr Etiene Popeler.

A document was tendered in the court by the defence to establish the fact that Dr Barnafo had, in 1993, written to the 31st December Women’s Movement to do business with them.

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When asked whether he was the author of the letter tendered, he replied in the affirmative.

Dr Owusu Barnafo, on October 24, 2002, told the court when he asserted that he, together with a certain Georgina Okaitey went to the house of Sherry one early morning in August 1996, and delivered an amount of ?25 million to her. According to him, this took place in Sherry’s living room.

Apart from this, he noted that he together with Mr Popeler and Madam Georgina Okaitey delivered $250,000 cash to Ms Sherry Ayittey at her office at GIHOC in November 1996.

He hinted further that in April 1998, $180,000 was delivered to Ms Sherry Ayittey by himself.

Dr Barnafo added that in May 1998, he alone delivered $130,000 cash to Ms Sherry Ayittey.

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Sherry Ayittey and three others are charged with bribery and corruption.

The three are Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, former executive secretary of the DIC, Ralph Casely-Hayford, a businessman and Satiriah Dorcas Ocran, a housewife.

They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and the court has granted each self-cognisance bail.

Source: Daily Guide