Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister says he is not interested in buying portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve released to the Owoo family.

Samuel Abdulai Jinapor said that will amount to a conflict of interest on his part.

“I can’t as a Minister be telling them [Owoo family] who to sell their lands to; I certainly will not buy lands from the Owoo family.

“Because that will be a clear case of conflict of interest,” he told Winston Amoah, host of Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Wednesday.

The Minister stressed that it is not within his powers.

The Damongo MP has also asked the public to help expose any public official who attempts to acquire portions of the said land.

With this, he has asked the public to help any such person who attempts to acquire portions of the said land.

“I do expect public officials who will put themselves in such a conflict situation will advise themselves accordingly, but I can’t legislate or put a law or put a fiat to say Owoo don’t sell to any public official,” he said.

“In any event, if they were going to do that, they won’t tell me, but the point I want to make is that we all have to be awake, and if there are any situations of conflict of interest, we expose it.”

Mr Jinapor’s comment comes after an eight-page document was widely circulated on social media, which purported to mean that the classification of the Achimota Forest Reserve has been lifted to pave the way for a possible redevelopment for other purposes.

The Instrument gazetted on behalf of President Akufo-Addo by the Lands Minister Samuel Abdulai Jinapor stipulated that effective May 1, 2022, the land on which the Forest is located shall cease to be a forest reserve, pursuant to Section 19 of the Forest Act, 1927 (CAP. 157).

The cessation, per that document, was to be effective on May 1, 2022.

However, the Minister has said the government is not selling the land. According to him, plans are rather afoot to upgrade the Achimota Forest into a world-class asset.

The Minister, at a press conference on Tuesday, May 17,  said the Executive Instrument, E.I. 144, pertained to 361 acres of peripherals of the Achimota forest that the government is returning to its custodial owners, identified as the Owoo family because the land was not being used for its intended purpose, which included the extension of the Achimota School.

But some Ghanaians have suggested this is an attempt by the government to sell the reserve to public officials.

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has asked President Nana Akufo-Addo to revoke the Executive Instrument (E.I 144) declassifying portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve.

The Caucus believes the E. I was not well-thought-through, and as such, it must be withdrawn.