The will of the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, also known as Sir John, former General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, has sparked controversy over the inclusion of parcels of land in the Achimota Forest. The will, which has been verified by The Fourth Estate, reveals specific and unspecified acres of land bequeathed to named individuals.
The public outcry over the Achimota Forest intensified when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo declassified parts of the forest as a forest reserve, leading to accusations of the political elite attempting to sell the land to themselves and their associates. The government has refuted these allegations, asserting that the land was being returned to its rightful owners.
According to the will, on page 4, Sir John designated four parcels of land measuring 5.541 acres to be given to specific individuals. The land was registered under the name Jakaypro Limited, with each person receiving one acre, including Yaw Amoateng Afriyie, Eva Akua Afriyie, Ivy Akua Afriyie, Elizabeth Asare Boateng (also known as Mother), and Michael Owusu, who received 1.541 acres.
On page 5 of the will, another parcel of land measuring 0.987 acres was registered under Fasoh Limited and bequeathed to Michael Owusu, Yaw Boadu, and Kwabena Amoateng, who are identified as Sir John's nephews.
Additionally, the will mentions joint ownership of a piece of land at Achimota Forest with Charles Owusu. Sir John requested that his portion of the land be given to Ruth Korkor Odonkor upon his demise.
The will also addresses land situated in the Ramsar area in Sakumono, Greater Accra Region. Sir John allocated 5.07 acres of land to his sisters Abena Saah, Comfort Amoateng, Abena Konadu, and Juliet Akua Arko, and their respective children, for shared ownership.
The Ramsar area, as defined by the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services (CERSGIS), is a wetland site designated under the Ramsar convention for international conservation and sustainable use of wetland resources. The Sakumono site is solely owned by the government and serves multiple purposes, including flood protection, pollution prevention, fish breeding for the Sakumono Lagoon, and recreational activities.
In response to the allegations surrounding the inclusion of Achimota Forest lands in Sir John's will, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has expressed its intent to conduct an investigation. The ministry released a statement emphasizing the seriousness of the claims and stating that it would review all relevant documents to ascertain their veracity. The current Minister, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, MP, aims to take appropriate action based on the findings, ensuring the protection of the national interest, particularly regarding the Achimota Forest.
Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie passed away on July 1, 2020, due to complications from Covid-19 while receiving treatment at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. His will, made on May 21, 2020, listed various properties, including houses, lands, gold production investments, and funds held in local and foreign banks, to be distributed among the beneficiaries. The will also mentioned fuel stations, 13 private vehicles, 10 fuel tankers, and five pump-action guns as part of the inheritance. Charles Owusu and Nana Boakye Acheampong were named as the executors of the will.
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