The government has stated that the beneficiaries of the will of the late Forestry Commission CEO, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, shall not get the Achimota Forest and Ramsar site lands included in the will.
Mr. Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John, was a one-time general secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party. Until his death in July 2020, he headed the Forestry Commission as the CEO from 2017.
His last will, which has been sighted and confirmed by The Fourth Estate, contains four parcels of specified and unspecified acres of land in the Achimota Forest, which the late politician bequeathed to named persons.
On page 4 of the will, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, whose office was situated at the Achimota Forest until his death, states:
“I give my land situate at the Achimota Forest in the name of Jakaypro Limited and measuring 5.541 acres to the following persons forever.
–Yaw Amoateng Afriyie -One (1) acre
— Eva Akua Afriyie One (1) acre
–Ivy Akua Afriyie One (1) acre
–Elizabeth Asare Boateng (aka Mother) One (1) acre
–Michael Owusu 1.541 acres
On page 5 of the will, it is stated: “I give my land also situate at the Achimota Forest in the name of Fasoh Limited and measuring 0.987acres to my nephews Michael Owusu, Yaw Boadu and Kwabena Amoateng forever.”
On the same page, the will states: “I jointly own a piece of land at Achimota Forest with Charles Owusu. Upon my demise, my portion of the said land should be given to Ruth Korkor Odonkor.”
That’s not all. On the same page 5 and still on the Achimota Forest, the will states: “I give my portion of land that jointly own at the Achimota Forest in the name of DML Limited to Elizabeth Asare Boateng who at the time of making this will is domiciled in the USA forever.”
The former head of the forestry commission also stated in the will that he owned a 5.07acre land at the Ramsar area in Sakumono in Accra.
“I give my land situate at the Ramsar area at Sakumono in the Greater Accra Region and measuring 5.07 acres to my sisters Abena Saah and her children, Comfort Amoateng and her children, Abena Konadu and Juliet Akua Arko and her children on equal share basis forever,” the will states.
The publication of the will by The Fourth Estate stoked national outrage following the decision by President Akufo-Addo to declassify a large part of the Achimota Forest as a reserve through an executive instrument, EI 144.
Some Ghanaians have also questioned why the man who was supposed to fend off encroachers and developers on the Ramsar site was himself a landowner there.
Barely 24 hours following The Fourth Estate‘s publication, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, in a statement on May 24, 2022, stated that its checks at the Lands Commission “show no record of ownership of lands, at the Achimota Forest or the Sakumono Ramsar Site, by the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie.”
From the details available to The Fourth Estate, it will not be strange not to find any records of Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie relating to the lands. He appeared to have acquired them through certain companies that were not linked to him until his death or with other persons named in his will. That has been stated in all the Achimota Forest lands he named in his will.
The ministry’s statement, which is signed by the sector minister, Samuel A. Jinapor, however, did not end there.
“That said, given the totality of the circumstances of the said allegations, I, as Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, have directed the Lands and Forestry Commissions to deem any ownership of lands, both, in the Achimota Forest and the Sakumono Ramsar Site by the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie as void and are to take the appropriate actions accordingly,” the statement said.
“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 EI 144,” the statement added.
Here is the Ministry’s press statement: