Political Scientist at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo

A political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, has called on the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, to focus on investigating government officials who are alive, in his fight against the unlawful acquisition of lands.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Professor Gyampo posited that even though he is impressed with the efforts of the sector Minister, he must move away from probing cases of dead public officials.

According to him, dealing with officials who are alive will give more credibility to his quest to tackle the unlawful acquisition of lands in the country.

“You are being cautiously hailed as an action man, and of course this is to be expected from a very young dynamo man with all the zeal. I have spoken to quite a number of well-meaning people in society on the Sir John land acquisitions and many seem unsure of what is really going on. Some are however happy with your swift intervention.

But I think your exuberance must be well targeted. Take note that it is easy to deal with dead men because they don’t and actually can’t talk. Probe deeper to see your colleague living souls who may have acquired lands they aren’t supposed to acquire”, Professor Gyampo advised.

“Should you be able to do this with same energy and zeal, you will have the full support and respect of the many discerning Ghanaians who are at the moment, cautiously optimistic about the sincerity of your swift interventions”, he added.

Professor Gyampo’s comments were on the back of a recent directive by the Lands Minister, ordering 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.

In a statement on Tuesday, Samuel Abu Jinapor said the two entities should consider any alleged ownership of lands at the said sites by the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, a.k.a Sir John, as void.

It is easy to deal with the dead; probe your colleagues who are alive - Prof Gyampo tells Lands Minister
Lands Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor

“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.

He added that “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”.

According to him, preliminary investigations have also revealed the alleged Will of Sir John is a subject matter of litigation in the courts.

The directive by Mr. Jinapor’s comments followed a report by the Fourth Estate’s Manasseh Azure Awuni, in which he published a document, purported to be the will of the late Forestry Commission CEO.

But speaking to MyJoyOnline.com after his Facebook post, Professor Gyampo emphasised that the directive by the Lands Minister should move away from dead officials. He said, the Minister must rather look at probing officials, who may have also acquired illegal parcels of land.

Meanwhile, 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.

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