The Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, says lands which form part of the Achimota forest and the Ramsar site at Sakumono purported to belong to the late CEO of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John will be returned to the state.

He noted that given the circumstances, any transaction which supposedly took place and led to the acquisition of the land by the then CEO of the Forestry Commission is void.

“The totality of the circumstances of this matter will mean that whatever transaction which was supposed to have taken place and these properties which are supposed to be part of the estate of Sir John cannot stand,” he said.

He, therefore, maintained that both the Achimota forest and the Ramsar site will continue to be the property of the state.

“The Constitution makes the President the trustee of public lands in Ghana and [as such] he is the manager of public lands in Ghana. And I as the Minister have delegated powers to manage the public lands of our country.

“I have written letters to the Lands Commission and Forestry Commission in this regard so those properties will revert to the state,” he said.

He was speaking on Saturday, May 28 on JoyNews’ Newsfile in relation to the brouhaha surrounding the declassification of parts of the Achimota Forest Reserve and the subsequent saga that has unfolded after portions of the Reserve were discovered bequeathed to beneficiaries in the will of Sir John.

Sir John's alleged property at Achimota forest and Ramsar site will be returned to the state – Abu Jinapor
The Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor.

While assuring the public that efforts have already been initiated to ensure that the properties are returned to the state, he reiterated the President’s commitment to safeguarding the country’s natural resources.

“The good news is that the President has absolutely committed to ensuring that we manage these resources responsibly, effectively and with integrity which is really good.

“I am also particularly encouraged with the kind of examination, interrogation and public discourse which has greeted this intervention, and I think that it’s all in the interest of our democracy and also the public good.”