Ownership of Achimota Forest and the Sakumono Ramsar Site lands by Sir John is void – Jinapor

Beneficiaries of purported lands at Achimota Forest and Sakumono Ramsar Site contained in the Will of the former Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, the Late Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John, will not have access to the said lands.

This followed a directive by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor, to the Lands Commission and Forestry Commission to deem any ownership of lands in the Achimota Forest and the Sakumono Ramsar Site by Sir John as void and to take the appropriate actions accordingly.

“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,” a statement signed and issued by Mr Jinapor in Accra yesterday, said.

It noted that further checks at the two agencies, the repositories of the records of the lands in question, show no record of ownership of the lands at Achimota Forest or the Sakumono Ramsar Site by the late politician.

According to the Minister, the lands in question would remain public lands, whether they were affected by the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 (E.I. 144) or not.

Mr Jinapor said the government would act on any improper acquisition of any Public Lands regardless of how it was acquired, both now and in the past.

It would be recalled that on Sunday, May 22, portions of the Last Will and Testament of the Late Sir John went viral on social media.

In the said will, the former CEO of the Forestry Commission had willed some lands in the Achimota Forest and the Sakumono Ramsar Site to certain persons named in the will.

An earlier statement from the Ministry on the matter, said it took a very serious view of the allegations, and had requested for all documents relating to the lands in question to ascertain the veracity of the claims.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Lands has noted that it would commission an independent audit into the de-gazetting of the peripheral portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve.

There were reports, earlier last week that the Achimota Forest had been reclassified and sold.

However, the Ministry in a statement, said only the peripheral portions of the Forest Reserve, which had been leased to the Owoo Family, were de-gazetted.

It said the core portions of the Forest Reserve, had been preserved by the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (E.I. 154).

The statement, added that the government will act on all improper acquisition of land, whether now or in the past.

The Ministry said it was committed to the protection, proper management and utilisation of the lands and natural resources of the country, and that the Achimota Forest is an integral part of Government’s plan for the protection of the country’s forest cover and the afforestation and reforestation agenda.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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