An aide to the former Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Charles Owusu has reacted to the public discourse on the alleged Will of the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, commonly known as Sir John, in which it is alleged that he owned some lands in the Achimota Forest.
One Charles Owusu has been named as one of the five beneficiaries of the said lands in reference in the alleged Will.
Sir John's aide, Charles Owusu, who had a working relationship with Sir John as an uncle and a nephew will not comment on whether or not he is the person in reference in the said Will.
He said once, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has indicated it will investigate the allegation that the former CEO of the Forestry Commission owned some lands in the Achimota Forest and named the said lands in his Will, he will not comment on it for now, until the findings by the Ministry.
Some portions of the Achimota Forest, specifically in the southern peripheries have been de-classified by the government as a forest reserve following it's release to the Owoo Family of Accra in lieu of monetary compensation, which has not been paid since 1927 that the land was acquired by the government from the family.
Following, the gazetting of an Executive Instrument (E.I.) 144, which de-classified the said portions, public discourse on the forest has been partly on why the government did not pay the monetary compensation to allow the forest to stay intact.
Some had alleged the lands could end up in the hands of some public officials.
On Monday, it came out that the late Sir John, who died in July 2020 allegedly owned some lands in the Achimota Forest and named the said lands in his Will.
A media report had suggested that Sir John in his Will named his children and some individuals related to him as the ones the lands should be given to forever.
The said Will has been circulated on social media, in which five persons have been named as the beneficiaries of the said lands.
One Charles Owusu, was also named in the Will, as one of the persons who should benefit from the lands.
It is dated May 20, 2020, a few weeks before Sir John died in July 2020.
The said Will in circulation was certified at the High Court in Accra, in August 2021.
Charles Owusu's comment
In a radio interview with Accra based Asempa FM Monday afternoon [May 23, 2022], monitored by Graphic Online, Charles Owusu, the aide to the late Sir John said he will not comment on the issue until the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has completed investigations into the issue.
He expressed worry about how the said Will of Sir John, something, he said was supposed to be a private issue has been leaked into the public domain.
Touting that it was uncustomary to be discussing private matters such as a Will of a deceased person in the public domain, Charles Owusu said at the appropriate time, he will speak on the issue but for now, I will not go into it, he said.
He, however, added that, he has read what was in the public domain, and no where did the said Will mentioned a land in the "Forest Reserve" but only mentions Achimota Forest.
Owusu said he has received many phone calls on the issue since Sunday and had decided not to comment publicly on it.
I am sad, the Will of the deceased Sir John has been thrown into the public domain, Owusu said.
Owusu is not a relative of the late Sir John but the relationship that existed between them was typical of an uncle and a nephew.
When he was asked by Osei Bonsu, the interviewer of the radio programme - Ekosii Sen - on whether he was the said Charles Owusu being referred to in the Will, Owusu said he cannot confirm or deny for now, but will wait till the Ministry's investigation is completed.
He said the investigations by the Ministry will establish if Sir John had a land in the Achimota Forest and when in specific he got the said land.
After the findings by the Ministry, I will speak and will plead with the public to exercise patience for now.
Lands Ministry's investigation
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources on Monday said it will investigate the allegation that former Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, also known as Sir John owned some lands in the Achimota Forest and named the said lands in his Will.
The Ministry's action followed a media report that had suggested that Sir John in his Will named his children and some individuals related to him as the ones the lands should be given to forever.
In a press statement issued by the Public Relations Unit of the sector ministry, it said, "The Ministry takes a very serious view of the allegations, and has requested for all documents relating to the lands in question, as part of an initial inquiry to ascertain the veracity of the claims. Considering that the issues that form the basis of the allegations predate the tenure of the current Minister, Samuel A. Jinapor, MP, it is important that he is seized with the full facts to enable him take appropriate action, if, indeed, there is any merit in the claims."
Below is a copy of the statement by the Ministry
ALLEGATIONS SURROUNDING ACHIMOTA FOREST AND THE PURPORTED WILL OF THE LATE FORESTRY COMMISSION CEO.
The attention of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has been drawn to a document making the rounds on social media, which alleges that the late former Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, had included portions of the Achimota Forest in his Will, and given out same to individuals who are said to be related to him.
The Ministry takes a very serious view of the allegations, and has requested for all documents relating to the lands in question, as part of an initial inquiry to ascertain the veracity of the claims.
Considering that the issues that form the basis of the allegations predate the tenure of the current Minister, Samuel A. Jinapor, MP, it is important that he is seized with the full facts to enable him take appropriate action, if, indeed, there is any merit in the claims.
The Ministry assures the general public and the good people of Ghana that it will ensure that the national interest is protected at all times, especially in matters pertaining to the Achimota Forest.
PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT
MINISTRY OF LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCES