The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has assured that the parcels of land at the Achimota Forest and the Sakumono Ramsar Site captured in the Will of the late Forestry Commission CEO, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John, will not be released to the purported document’s beneficiaries.
A copy of the late Sir John’s Will, which bequeathed portions of the Achimota Forest and the Ramar site at Sakomono to some relatives, was widely circulated after it was released by the Fourth Estate.
The development has sparked heated debate and anger among so many Ghanaians, with many expressing disappointment that the former Forestry Commission head allocated state lands to himself.
In the midst of public outrage over Sir John’s alleged will, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has revealed that preliminary investigations have revealed that the alleged will in question is a subject of litigation/contestation in the courts.
According to the Lands and Forestry Commissions, there is no record of the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie owning land in the Achimota Forest or the Sakumono Ramsar Site.
Sector Minister Samuel Abu Jinapor stated in a statement that he has “directed the Lands and Forestry Commissions to deem any ownership of lands, both in the Achimota Forest and the Sakumono Ramsar Site, by the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie as void and are to take the appropriate actions accordingly.”
Read the Land’s Ministry’s full statement below;
“RE: ACHIMOTA FOREST / KWADWO OWUSU AFRIYIE’S ALLEGED LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
“The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources refers to its Press Statement dated 22nd May, 2022 in which the Ministry committed to inquire into the allegations relating to the acquisition of parcels of lands at the Achimota Forest and the Sakumono Ramsar Site by the late former Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John).
“Preliminary inquiries reveal that the alleged Will in question is a subject matter of litigation/contestation in the courts.
“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.
“That said, given the totality of the circumstances of the said allegations, I, as Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, have directed the Lands and Forestry Commissions to deem any ownership of lands, both, in the Achimota Forest and the Sakumono Ramsar Site by the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie as void and are to take the appropriate actions accordingly.
“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.
“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.”
Sir John also revealed in his will that he owned land at the Ramsar site at Sakumono, near Tema.
The revelations in his will come at a time when the government is supposedly returning portions of the Achimota Forest land to its original owners.