In a recent episode of Mayhem, host John-Andrew Addo delved into the story of Ataa Ayi. Born as Raymond Ayee Ayeetey, his story took a turn from a taxi driver to a notorious criminal.
In this gripping episode of Mayhem, the host looks into the archives on Ataa Ayi, once referred to as Accra’s Most Wanted armed robber. A name synonymous with criminal intrigue in Ghana.
After his mother took off to the UK, he stopped schooling and ended up behind the wheel of a taxi. People who knew him back then described him as friendly, respectful, and a regular taxi driver.
Ataa Ayi’s journey began as an ordinary taxi driver in Adabraka. However, fate took a cruel turn in 1998 when a horrific accident left him jobless and drowning in debt. Struggling to make ends meet, he encountered a friend who offered him an unconventional job opportunity, leading him into the world of criminal activities.
Ataa Ayi, along with his gang, embarked on a spree of daring heists, targeting individuals fresh out of banks with pockets full of cash. The gang’s audacious moves escalated, from robbing buses to hijacking cars.
In the podcast episode, the host addressed some of the rumors about him. Rumors even circulated about Ataa Ayi possessing a mystical charm that shielded him from bullets and made him disappear.
In 1999, they executed a heist that involved 12 million old Ghana cedis, a large sum at the time. An eyewitness related how the gang followed a man who had taken out 22 million old cedis from a bank. The robbers crossed him while he was stopping to give his wife the money amid gunfire.
Billboards across the country bore Ataa Ayi’s face, solidifying his notoriety. The gang’s audacity reached new heights as they targeted a reverend minister, fired shots, and made off with 6 million cedis. Ataa Ayi’s driving skills became legendary, as police records indicated his ability to reverse cars at breakneck speeds during pursuits.
The police looked everywhere they (Ataa Ayi and his gang) could have possibly lived and operated. All but Ataa Ayi of his gang were killed or taken into custody during the search. Everything must come to an end and even the most skilled criminals will eventually be apprehended. While taking care of the home of his elder sister in Nungua. His sister’s daughter insulted him during a dispute between the tenants in the house.
The tenant was then severely beaten by Ataa Ayi, for which the police were notified. When the police arrived at his house on February 28, 2005, they discovered him hanging clothes to dry. When they arrived to place an assault charge against him, they discovered he was the nation’s most wanted criminal. Court proceedings resulted in a staggering sentence of 160 years in prison.
Ataa Ayi stated he was tortured and forced to sign declarations while being held captive, some of which he claimed were false. In addition, he maintained that the majority of the witnesses who testified against him during his trial had lied, but he was content with his sentence.
Adding a unique dimension to the podcast, the host interviews Abu Issa Monnie a journalist from Media General, who gave insights into the Ataa Ayi case. Now serving as a prison pastor, Ataa Ayi acknowledges his past crimes and accepts Jesus as his Saviour. Ataa Ayi continues to beg for a pardon from the government.
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