Civil Society Organisation, OccupyGhana, has called for an investigation pertaining to the matters regarding the declassification of the Achimota forest reserves.
OccupyGhana revealed that it is imperative to equally suspend the Executive Instrument being purportedly used by government to declassify the lands.
“We write to demand that you revoke or suspend the operation of the Forests (Cessation of Forest Reserve) Instrument, 2022 (EI 144) and the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (EI 154) forthwith. Instead, we demand a full public inquiry under Chapter 23 of the Constitution into the matter of the Achimota Forest Reserve.”OccupyGhana
Referencing a letter addressed to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor, dated May 18, 2022, OccupyGhana expressed “vehement disagreement with the alleged plans to return substantial portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve to its former owners”. It noted that with matters pertaining to the general matter of returning government lands to former owners, there is also evidence of how some of these lands have “been quietly sold to government and party officials”.
It alleged that since sending the letter to the Minister, the group has had further cause to believe that the“state of affairs is worse and much wider than is apparent”.
“We are also concerned that there might have been serious instances of conflict of interest and conflict of duty involving government officials and other government actors, concerning those lands.”OccupyGhana
Contained in a statement, the group called on government to institute an inquiry into all alleged return of government lands to former owners that have taken place.
“While the Achimota Forest Reserve issue requires immediate attention, we further demand a similar inquiry into all alleged return of government lands to former owners that have occurred under the Fourth Republic. The purpose of the inquiries would be to reverse any illegal acts perpetrated, and improper gains made, by government officials under the guise of returning lands.”OccupyGhana
Citizens Movement Against Corruption calls for suspension of declassifying forest reserve
Meanwhile, Co-Chair of Citizens Movement Against Corruption, Edem Senanu, has requested the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry to suspend the de-classification of the Achimota Forest Reserve. The Anti-Corrpution campaigner indicated that an investigation must be undertaken to know who else aside the allodial owners may have documentation to prove ownership of the forest reserve.
“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.”Edem Senanu
Reacting to the emergence of a document believed to be the Will of a former General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party, the late Sir John, where he allegedly signed off some of the forest reserves to some of his family members, Mr Senanu revealed that 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”.
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