General

Sir John’s family won’t get alleged Ramsar Site, Achimota Forest lands – Jinapor

No relative of the late Kojo Owusu Afriyie is getting any parcel of land either at the Achimota Forest or the Sakumono Ramsar Site, both in the Greater Accra Region, Land and Natural Resources Minister Samuel Jinapor has said.

An alleged will of the late CEO of the Forestry Commission bequeathed some acres of land to his beneficiaries in the two areas.

However, the minister has ordered the Lands Commission as well as the Forestry Commission against giving those properties out.

A statement signed by Mr Jinapor dated Tuesday, 24 May 2022, said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the bequeathing of the aforesaid lands, if established, will not pass any interest/title to the named beneficiaries in the alleged will”.

“These lands, the subject matter of the alleged Will, shall remain public lands, whether or not it falls within the de-gazetted lands pursuant to E.I. 144,” the Damongo MP said.

He noted: “Further checks at the Lands and the Forestry Commissions – the repositories of the records of the lands in question – show no record of ownership of lands at the Achimota Forest or the Sakumono Ramsar Site by the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie.”

The minister warned: “Government will act on any improper acquisition of any public lands, regardless of how it was procured, whether now or in the past, and the Achimota Forest lands will not be an exception”.

Meanwhile, pressure group OccupyGhana has written to Mr Jinapor, in relation to the recent reclassification of the Achimota Forest reserve in specific, and the general phenomenon of returning government lands to their former owners, saying there is “evidence of how some of these lands have been quietly sold to government and party officials”.

“Since sending that letter to you, we have had further cause to believe that this state of affairs is worse and much wider than is apparent”, a statement issued by the group on Monday, 23 May 2022 stated, adding: “We are also concerned that there might have been serious instances of conflict of interest and conflict of duty involving government officials and other government actors, concerning those lands”.

“We, therefore, write to demand that you revoke or suspend the operation of the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 (EI 144) and the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (EI 154) forthwith”, the group insisted.

Instead, the group noted, “We demand a full public inquiry under Chapter 23 of the Constitution into the matter of the Achimota Forest Reserve”.

The government has been explaining that it is returning 361 acres of peripheral lands bordering the forest reserve to the custodial owners, being the Owoo family.

It recently emerged that some of those lands were captured as an inheritance in the will of the late CEO of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kojo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John).

Read OccupyGhana’s full statement below:

23 May 2022

Abu Jinapor, MP
The Honourable Minister
Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
Accra

Dear Sir:

RE: OCCUPYGHANA LBG DISAGREES WITH ANY FURTHER RELEASE OF ACHIMOTA LANDS

In our letter to you dated 18 May 2022 on the above-entitled matter, we conveyed our vehement disagreement with the alleged plans to return substantial portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve to its former owners.

Regarding the general matter of returning government lands to former owners, we stated as follows:

“There is also evidence of how some of these lands have been quietly sold to government and party officials.”

Since sending that letter to you, we have had further cause to believe that this state of affairs is worse and much wider than is apparent. We are also concerned that there might have been serious instances of conflict of interest and conflict of duty involving government officials and other government actors, concerning those lands.

We, therefore, write to demand that you revoke or suspend the operation of the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 (EI 144) and the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (EI 154) forthwith.

Instead, we demand a full public inquiry under Chapter 23 of the Constitution into the matter of the Achimota Forest Reserve.

While the Achimota Forest Reserve issue requires immediate attention, we further demand a similar inquiry into all alleged return of government lands to former owners that have occurred under the Fourth Republic. The purpose of the inquiries would be to reverse any illegal acts perpetrated, and improper gains made, by government officials under the guise of returning lands.

Yours in the Service of God and Country

OccupyGhana LBG

Source: Classfmonline.com

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