Late Sir John never declared his assets while at Forestry Commission - Report

Sir John Sir John is a former Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission of Ghana

Tue, 24 May 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Sir John's Will made public

EIA report reveals damming illegalities with regards the felling of rosewood

Sir John flouted Article 286 of the 1992 Constitution and Public Office Holders, Report

It has emerged that the late former Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (a.k.a. Sir John), did not declare his assets during his time at the helm of the Commission.

According to a report by thefourthestategh.com, the late politician, whose last Will has become a topical matter in the country in the last few days, due to its content, never declared his assets neither before his appointment nor during his tenure at the Commission.

This, the report added, was disclosed by the Audit Service. It is worth mentioning that of all the estates captured in the viral last Will of Sir John, many Ghanaians got particularly intrigued at how much land he had been able to acquire at the Achimota Forest Reserve.

Discussion on the Achimota Forest lands has also been in the public light lately after it was disclosed that the government, through an Executive Instrument (E.I.) purported to have been signed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, had declassified the lands from being a reserve.

In the aftermath of reports and further explanations by the government through the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, it emerged that the lands were not up for sale but were only being declassified to make way for the Owoo family, who are the pre-acquisition owners, to receive the portions that belonged to them.

Additionally, many have questioned how the late Sir John was able to secure lands which he has eventually bequeathed to some of his relatives when the government insists that the Achimota Forest lands have not been sold.

But in the thefourthestategh.com report, it indicated that “Per the laws regulating asset declaration in Ghana—Article 286 of the 1992 Constitution and Public Office Holders (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) Act— Mr Afriyie should have declared assets relating to the following:

(a) lands, houses and buildings;

(b) farms;

(c) concessions;

(d) trust or family property in respect of which the officer has beneficial interest;

(e) vehicles, plant and machinery, fishing boats, trawlers, generating plants; (f) business interests;

(g) securities and bank balances;

(h) bonds and treasury bills;

(i) jewellery of the value of ¢5 million [now ¢500] or above; objects of art of the value of ¢5 million or above;

(j) life and other insurance policies;

(k) such other properties as are specified on the declaration form.”

The report added that through a right to information request to the Audit Service, it became clear that the late FC boss flouted the law (Article 286(1) of the 1992 Constitution) when he did not declare his assets as the law requires.

When he was in office, there were a number of controversies that surrounded the tenure of the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie at the Forestry Commission.

The report by thefourthestategh.com explained that a damming report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) that was released during Sir John’s tenure, indicated that there was a booming illegal trade that involved the felling of rosewood trees, although there was a ban on such activities.

“Since 2012, over 540,000 tons of rosewood – the equivalent of 23,478 twenty-foot containers or approximately six million trees – were illegally harvested and imported into China from Ghana while bans on harvest and trade have been in place,” the EIA report stated.

Other revelations of the EIA report indicated that there was a “massive institutionalised timber trafficking scheme, enabled by high-level corruption and collusion.”

While Sir John announced measures by the Commission to fix this rot through the burning of all seized rosewood – a measure intended to deter others from finding the area lucrative, none of this happened, the report added.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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