Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng

The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD)-Ghana has commended the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) for its swiftness to investigate suspected corruption and acquisition of state lands by the late former Forestry Commission Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie.

It says the responsiveness of the OSP demonstrates how eager it is to get to the bottom of all the allegations and rumours surrounding the sale of lands at the Achimota Forest and the Sakumono Ramsar Site.

“So, we welcome the press release and the response by the Special Prosecutor but we are motivated by the same reasons why we submitted this petition to the Special Prosecutor,” a researcher at CDD, Gilbert Asiamah, said.

Earlier, an anti-corruption group that operates under the auspices of the CDD, Corruption Watch, petitioned the Special Prosecutor to probe the acquisition of the said lands.

The group’s Technical Advisor, William Nyarko, stated in a letter that it is an offence for a person to use public office for personal profit.

Corruption Watch believes that the late politician, popularly known as Sir John, abused his public office and dishonestly used it for his private benefit.

Following this, the OSP issued a statement on Thursday, May 26, in which it said investigations have started over the matter.

The statement also directed the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry to fully cooperate with the investigations.

What happened?

On May 23, it emerged that the Will of Sir John contained some parcels of land at the Achimota Forest Reserve and the Sakumono Ramsar site.

The Will, which has been sighted and confirmed by The Fourth Estate, contains four parcels of specified and unspecified acres of land in the Achimota Forest, which the late politician bequeathed to named persons.

CDD welcomes Special Prosecutor's probe into 'unlawful' acquisition of state lands by Sir John
Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng

Page 4 of the Will states:

“I give my land-situate at the Achimota Forest in the name of Jakaypro Limited and measuring 5.541 acres to the following persons forever.

– Yaw Amoateng Afriyie                                One (1) acre

– Eva Akua Afriyie                                          One (1) acre

– Ivy Akua Afriyie                                           One (1) acre

– Elizabeth Asare Boateng (aka Mother)        One (1) acre

– Michael Owusu                                             1.541 acres

The former head of the Forestry Commission also stated in the Will that he owned land at the Ramsar area in Sakumono in Accra.

“I give my land-situate at the Ramsar area at Sakumono in the Greater Accra Region and measuring 5.07 acres to my sisters Abena Saah and her children, Comfort Amoateng and her children, Abena Konadu and Juliet Akua Arko and her children on equal share basis forever.”

CDD welcomes Special Prosecutor's probe into 'unlawful' acquisition of state lands by Sir John
Lands Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor

Meanwhile, the Lands Minister has directed the Lands and Forestry Commissions to take appropriate actions over claims that the late former CEO of the Forestry Commission owns portions of lands at the Achimota Forest and Sakumono Ramsar Site.

Samuel Abdulai Jinapor said the two entities should consider any alleged ownership of lands at the said sites by the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie aka Sir John, as void.

“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 Member of Parliament stated in a statement issued on Tuesday, May 24.