If you were born in the late and early 90s somewhere then you probably would have learned about the notorious Atta Ayi. He became a household name in his profession because of how infamous and stubborn he became.
Raymond Ayee Ayeetey was born at Accra, in Adabraka. He was a boy going to school when he left class 4 after his mother moved to the UK. Ataa Ayi learned how to fly, and was later a taxi driver.
He related his story in an interview with one of the media houses that he took someone to a festival in Okropong in 1998 and, on his way back, got into an accident that ruined his master’s vehicle. He came back to the jobless Accra, and a debtor.
A friend introduced him to another Eddie who needed a professional driver in search of a job. The need for this professional driver has been for stealing a vehicle. Ataa Ayi joined in assisting him in his criminal activities. He shared his disappointment at first finding out that his job was to assist car looters.
But he also needed the money for his pregnant wife and ambitions in industry. Ataa Ayi joined the gang in his need for money, of car looters. This gang’s activity involved tracking individuals who go to the banks to withdraw money, threaten and steal their money.
Ataa Ayi’s first action was in 1999 when he and his gang robbed 12 million cedis, 2.5 million cedis of which he got for himself. The gang came across a rifle in a police car one fateful day, and took it. They wanted to use it for their illegal activities but none of them really knew how to do it.
The gang stole vehicles and robbed banks and buses of people. The frequency of these acts led people to believe that he had charms which shielded him from gunshots and police. One day, a survivor shared his story about how even traffic robbed him.
Another eye witness recounted his tale of how the gang followed a man from a bank where he had pulled 22 million cedis from. When he stopped giving his wife the money, the robbers traversed him in the midst of shooting. The gang also followed a pastor from Osu where 56 million cedis had been withdrawn, entered the church but could not snatch the bag containing the money.
They entered an office, and met a pastor who checked the money. They shot him, and took 6 million cedis away. In all, about 700 million cedis plus vehicles, telephones and jewellery were the cash that the gang made up. Ataa Ayi was so famous in the country that his image was put on billboards.
His name was also a popular household name and thieves’ nickname In 2000, police went to Chorkor for his arrest in search of a lead, but Ataa Ayi had traveled a funeral. He went into hiding on knowledge of how he wanted it to be. Police also investigated vey possible place where he must have been living and working. Except for Ataa Ayi, all of his gang members were arrested or killed at the search.
Only the strongest of criminals, however, have a day when they are arrested. Ataa Ayi’s was the keeper of his elder sister’s house at Nungua. There was an altercation in the house between tenants, where he was threatened by his sister’s daughter.
Ataa Ayi then beat the tenant for whom police registered the case. Police went to his home on 28th February 2005 and found him drying his clothing. They came to arrest him on assault counts only to find out he was the country’s most wanted criminal.
He had been arrested while begging police not to execute him on his knees. Once in detention, Ataa Ayi said he had been tortured and forced to sign documents he maintains were not true of any of them.
He also said that most of the witnesses at his trial who appeared against him committed perjury, but he was satisfied to have been convicted. He was later sentenced to 160 years of hard labour, and now serves his time in Cape Coast’s Ankaful Maximum Security Prisons.
Now a pastor in prison, Ataa Ayi regrets all his past crimes and sins and accepts Jesus as his savior. Ataa Ayi also pleads that pardon be given to the government. Upon his release he wants to become a better priest.