Corruption Watch Ghana has petitioned the Special Prosecutor to investigate the alleged acquisition of several acres of State lands situated within the Achimota Forest and at Ramsar sites in Sakumono in the Greater Accra Region.
This comes after the controversy sparked by documents containing details of the alleged acquisition of lands by the late Forestry Commission CEO Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John.
The particulars of the alleged acquisition of the alleged State lands were in the Last Will and Testament of Sir John as revealed by The Fourth Estate.
Corruption Watch in a statement said its petition for the investigation of these acquisitions is premised on the provisions of Section 1, Sub-section 3 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959).
These mandate the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate alleged or suspected cases of corruption or a corruption-related offence involving public officers.
“It is worth emphasizing that the deceased was a public officer and a politically exposed person per the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959), when he served as the CEO of the Forestry Commission and singularly or jointly allegedly acquired the said lands with other natural and artificial persons during the period he was the CEO of the said Commission. One such person was Charles Owusu, also a public officer, and a politically exposed person.”
“Furthermore, Corruption Watch draws inspiration from Section 179C of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), which makes it an offence for a person to use public office for profit. We note that the offence is committed by both the person who holds public office who dishonestly abuses the office for private gain or benefit and other persons who collaborate with the public officer to so abuse the office,” the statement said.
Corruption Watch is specifically requesting the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate the following:
- Whether the Republic of Ghana owned the said lands at the time of their alleged acquisition by Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, Jakaypros Limited, Fasoh Limited, DML Limited, and Charles Owusu;
- The circumstances of the alleged acquisition;
- The Beneficial Owners of the companies implicated in this transaction and compliance with the reporting requirements of such persons where they are PEPs under sections 13, 35, and 126 of the Companies Act 2019 (Act 992);
- Who authorized the alleged sale or purchase of the lands?
- Whether the interests in the lands have been registered?
- Under what authority did the person(s)/ institution authorize the sale or purchase?
- Whether any amount of money was paid for the said lands, and to whom?
- Whether the politically exposed person(s) and public officers who own these properties have complied with the Code of Conduct for Public Officers under Chapter Four of the 1992 Constitution, particularly relating to Article 286 of the Constitution?
- The propriety or otherwise of the said sale or purchase?
- Whether other natural or artificial persons who are politically exposed persons have also acquired lands
- illegally within the Achimota Forest and Ramsar site in Sakumono.