The Lands Minister says government will not honor an agreement signed by the John Mahama administration that assigned parts of the Achimota Forest to a private company for development.

Samuel Abdulai Jinapor disclosed the Company, Aikan Capital was given the contract to develop part of the Forest into an Ecotourism Park, with a release of 227 hectares of the Forest Reserve to them.

According to him, the agreement would have empowered the private firm to level the forest with bulldozers but government will not give the green light for the proposed Ecotourism Park.

The Damongo legislator said in an interview on JoyNewsPM Express that his administration would rather keep the natural state of the Forest.

“The Ecotourism Park is essentially like a theme park to more like level the forest and build a theme park there; leases were granted to Aikan Capital. We have had to come into office to decouple the two issues and say ‘no, the Ecotourism Park is not something we are persuaded [to do].’

“So, for that, we put a hold on it so that the Achimota Forest will be salvaged. Leases were executed in their favour. It’s not taken off because we are in office and we’ve not been persuaded by that move,” he explained.

“If I had done so today, Aikan Capital would walk into the Achimota Forest with bulldozers and run it down and build the Ecotourism Park. We will not do that [gazette the leases granted to Aikan Capital] because we want to protect the Forest Reserve.”

But a former Lands Minister, Inusah Fuseini, has disputed the claims that the Forest would have been levelled if the agreement had come into force.

“It is not true that the company that was contracted to develop the Achimota Forest into an Ecotourism facility was going to pull down the forest. There are different kinds of species in the Forest; we realised that we needed to protect them for posterity.

“Protecting the forest would require that you incorporate into the development of the Ecotourism facility, facilities to cater for the trees, facilities to cater for the animals and also provide a place for relaxation,” he told JoyNews.