Ghana’s highest serving convict, Raymond Ayi Ayittey popularly known as Atta Ayi has revealed that he never expected to be caught despite being on the police radar for years.
“I never thought I would be arrested. This was because the first photo the police shared in the media was not mine and neither was my name Atta Ayi” the convicted prisoner who claims to have changed from his ways explained.
In 2005, Atta Ayi was sentenced to 160 years in prison with hard labour on the charges of robbery and conspiracy to rob by Supreme Court Judge, Justice Baffoe-Bonnie.
According to Ghana’s most famous criminal mind, his arrest on the 28th February 2005 was on a tip-off by his niece for a different crime he had committed.
“I beat by niece up for insulting a neighbour and her mother as well. Unknown to me she was angry with me for what I did and a few weeks later reported me to the police for assault. However, when the police arrived they released I was the one they had been looking for since 1998 and immediately apprehended me,” he recounted.
In an interview at the Ankaful Maximum security prisons in Cape Coast where he has already served 10 years of his 160 years sentence, Ayi narrated how he got into the dangerous crime and how long it lasted.
“I was born in Adabraka but my mother later relocated to Odokor where I attended Radiantway Preparatory school…I dropped out of school in class 4 after my mother travelled to the United Kingdom…she enrolled me informally with a mechanical engineer (fitter) to learn the trade. This was how I learnt how to drive and become a taxi driver but my taxi got involved in an accident and I lost my job."
Continuing his life story, he said a friend introduced him to a guy named “Eddie” who was a boot robber who was in need of a driver to help him in his operations
“Eddie who became my boss gave me a job as a driver on an operation they were about to embark on. I didn't know it was a robbery operation until we did it. He paid 10 million cedis throughout the time I was a driver….
To him, he had to find ends meet because his wife had just put to birth and gaining employment as a driver/armed robber was the only way he could fend for his young family.
“I got involved in "Car boot"- we followed people from the bank and robbed them when they park. I later gained experience and had my own syndicate but I never killed anyone with the guns I used” debunking rumours that he had gunned down his victims."
Contrary to popular beliefs, he argues that his amulets and talisman didn’t allow him to disappear but only gave him protection not to be caught or shot.
When questioned about what he used the bounty from his raids for, he replied that he acted as Robinhood by doling out the money to needy people in the society.
“I used the money I made from robbery to help people, I paid school fees....etc. But I wished I had a more legitimate means of helping them,” he added.
Atta Ayi believes he was framed for some of the crimes because he was tired of the torture thus had to sign the statements others wrote.
Life in Prison
Even in cells, Atta Ayi continues to lead, assuming the position as the national leader of prisoners in Ghana. He also submits that he is now a Christian convert who believes Jesus Christ is his Lord and personal saviour. Prior to prison, he said he had not accessed the bible and only saw God as a myth or Children fable. Finally, he advised armed robbers and other miscreants to shun all the devious acts that could land them in prison.