Anti-graft campaugner, Edem Senanu

Co-Chair of Citizens Movement Against Corruption, Edem Senanu, has asked the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry to suspend the de-classification of the Achimota Forest Reserve.

The Anti-Corrpution campaigner added his voice to calls for an independent investigation.

“The whole idea of de-classifying the forest reserve should be suspended and I would probably suggest for us to have an independent investigation running simultaneously either from the end of the Special Prosecutor or CHRAJ, so that we are quite certain that we are getting all the relevant information,” he said on NewsNight on Monday.

Edem Senanu believes the investigation ought to be done to find out who else aside the allodial owners may have documentation to prove ownership of the forest reserve.

“Really speaking, the question on our minds is who else may have documentation showing that our forest reserve has actually become part of their property,” he wondered.

Suspend de-classification of Achimota Forest Reserve - Edem Senanu
Achimota Forest

His call for the de-classification of the forest reserves follows the emergence of a document believed to be the will of a former General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as ‘Sir John’.

At the time of his demise, Sir John was the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, the organisation that has direct oversight for the Achimota Forest.

The will contains four parcels of specified and unspecified acres of land in the Achimota Forest, which the late politician bequeathed to his children and nephew, “forever”.

Reacting to this, Edem Senanu said “it is not the kind of thing that one will expect that once he was entrusted responsibility for a representative of the people, you will find that they are acquiring properties in that space”.

It would be recalled that last week, government issued 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.

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 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”.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.