And so to Isleworth Crown Court I dragged myself, fully conscious of my facebook duties. My bed beckoned, but duty beckoned even much more strongly.
As I walked up to the entrance of the building, I met a black lady. A smile settled it. ɛte sɛn? (To wit: How is life?). I answered in the affirmative. Which court is it? she enquired further in Twi. See, we both knew why we were there, without discussing it. Court 5″, I replied. After we had gone through the scanners (even the courts have scanners!) we made our way to court 5.
A small crowd of Ghanaians, numbering about 40, milled about in the lobby, exchanging gossips and pleasantries. Straightaway, I spotted two of my constituents Juliet and Kate. Hugs all round. Nice smiles. Everyone was here to try to catch a glimpse of Nayele Ametefeh, aka Ruby Adu Gyamfi, alias Cleopatra the lady with the Midas touch who has given the opposition in Ghana plenty of fodder and the government serious migraine. Straightaway we fished out two Ghanaian security guards.
We made way for the various lawyers and court officials to get past and we entered the courtroom. Cleopatras barrister was a lovely-looking black lady. A few minutes later we were told space inside the courtroom was limited, but the authorities would try to see what they could do.
At 2.15 pm the announcer came back. Press and family members first, please. I was tempted to insist I was reporting for Facebook South. I resisted the urge. After they had entered there was a small melee outside as many people tried to squeeze themselves in. The typical Ghanaian indiscipline reared its ugly head in the process. It was embarrassing. You can take the Ghanaian out of Ghana but never Ghana out of him; it appeared. Eventually, some of us were left behind to lick our wounds and damn our stars.
But through the door as people were ushered in, some of us caught a glimpse of Cleopatra on the video screen inside the courtroom. She wore a pale green jumper that set off well against the forest green curtains behind her. Her hair was pulled back and she appeared to wear light makeup. She looked a bit nervous, but perhaps resigned to the fact that she had been downsized from swanky hotel rooms and first class travels to a rather bland accommodation at Her Majestys Pleasure.
As the door shut in our faces, a few people got out their mobile phones and brought up the widely circulated photograph of Cleopatra standing on the steps of a private jet. Its she! we exclaimed. Then we settled and gossiped small as we waited for news.
Under ten minutes it was all over. The court doors opened and the people poured out. Her barrister was asked to speak to Rubys family in a small conference room off the lobby. I was tempted to insist I was her cousins father in-laws sons step-son, but I did not think it would fly.
We crowded around our fellow citizens who had emerged. The facts were simple. She had pleaded guilty. She was to be remanded till 5th January, 2015 for sentencing, pending pre-sentence reports and testing of the quantity and purity of the gold flakes sorry, the white powder. Aside nodding every now and then, the only word that came out of the suspected cocaine baroness mouth was GUILTY.
Outside court, the conspiracy theories started. She must be shielding someone, it was claimed, for with a guilty plea there would be no trial, no evidence, nothing. Absolutely nothing! And of course, she would get time off her sentence for her early plea. Classic Cleopatra keeping her mouth shut for obvious reasons, it was reasoned. Joy FM, Asempa FM, Citi FM and others were there to do post-hearing interviews and analysis.
There was an interview with one Simon Israel of Channel 4 News by Joy FM. He claimed to be astonished by the size of the crowd and also by the speed with which she pleaded guilty.
And so we trudged back to Iselworth station together, strangers brought together by our Ghanaianness and the exotic Cleopatra.
As I sat on the train heading towards Central London, one question occupied my mind.
Who is Cleopatras Mark Antony?
Source: Rodney Nkrumah Boateng (London)/D-Guide
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