Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, aka Sir John

An anti-corruption group, Corruption Watch, has petitioned the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to investigate the alleged state lands belonging to the late Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie.

The Organisation’s Technical Advisor, William Nyarko in the signed letter noted 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.

As such, the anti-graft group wants the Special Prosecutor to establish how the state lands, including several acres of lands situated in the Achimota Forest and Ramsar sites in Sakumono were secured by the late Sir John.

“The deceased was a public officer and a Politically Exposed Person within the meaning of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959), when he served as the CEO of the Forestry Commission and singularly or jointly allegedly acquired the said lands with other natural and artificial persons during the period he was the CEO of the said commission. One such person was Charles Owusu also a public officer and a Politically Exposed Person.

“We note that the offence is committed by both the person who holds public office and who dishonestly abuses the office for private profit or benefit and other persons who collaborate with the public officer to abuse the office. We also believe that other offences might have been committed under the Public Property Protection Act, 1977 (SMCD 140) if these allegations are determined to be true,” Mr Nyarko noted in the letter.

A section of Ghanaians have been accusing some government officials of attempting to illegally acquire lands at the Achimota Forest Reserve.

The outcry was a result of President Akufo-Addo signing an Executive Instrument to declassify the Achimota Forest.

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).

But even before the dust settled, another jaw-dropping discovery was unearthed in the will of the former Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie.

In the 12-page document, it emerged that the politician owned some parcels of land in the Forest Reserve which he has passed on to inheritors forever.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, James Dadson has said there is no record of Sir John at the commission owning portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve.

“There is nothing in our records concerning that. What you read is what I have read. We don’t have anything recorded here for Sir John as far as our records are concerned,” James Dadson told journalists in Accra on Monday May 23.

A supposed will of Sir John which is currently in circulation indicated that the late Former General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) owned portions of the forest reserve and accordingly bequeathed them to his relatives.