Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrissu is demanding a public inquiry into the alleged sale of portions of the Achimota Forest. 

According to the Tamale South MP, the inquiry will establish persons who acquired the lands under the guise of declassifying the Forest.

He noted that the act of politicians and public officers taking state lands in the name of the Republic must be treated as an “urgent matter”.

Minority in Parliament demands public inquiry into declassification of Achimota Forest

“Mr. Speaker without any hesitation, this must be treated as an urgent matter. The President should open a public inquiry into the declassification of Achimota lands and let the public know who got what for what? We need to appreciate that even the reliance on an Executive Instrument 144 and Forest Act of 1927 that’s an outdated law.

“Let me remind the President and the leadership that he should go and look at the Land Use and Spacial Planning Act 926, re-zoning and re-classification. The mandate was not given to the President, Mr. Speaker we need to welcome ourselves back by dealing with this issue,” he stated on the floor of the House on Tuesday.

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.

He added: “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.”

Background

Last week, the President signed 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).

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

However, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has said the government is not selling the land.

Minority in Parliament demands public inquiry into declassification of Achimota Forest
Achimota Forest Reserve

According to him, plans are rather afoot to upgrade the Achimota Forest into a world-class asset.

Addressing the press on Tuesday, May 17, the sector Minister emphasised that widespread reports about the supposed sale of the Forest are false and baseless, as the government has no such plans.

“The government intends to enrich the Achimota forest, revamp it and hopefully, in the not too distant future, transform it into the likes of High Park of London and Central Park of New York, where Ghanaians can go and enjoy the beauty of nature and forest reserve as it happens in other parts of the world”.