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Achimota Forest Brouhaha: Occupy Ghana Commends Jinapor For 'Bold Action' To Unravel The Truth

Achimota Forest Brouhaha: Occupy Ghana Commends Jinapor For 'Bold Action' To Unravel The Truth

Civil Society Group, Occupy Ghana, has commended Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, for initiating an independent audit on the specific acreage of the Achimota Forest lands that have been de-gazetted.

According to the group, much as it appreciates and commends the Minister’s attempt to uncover the truth through the intended independent audit, there is a need for a Commission of Inquiry.“The President should set up the Chapter 23 Commission of Inquiry, failing which we expect Parliament to unanimously resolve or the Council of State to advise that a Commission be appointed.”“The Minister’s audit may constitute evidence to be provided to the Commission,” Part of a statement issued by Occupy Ghana said.It described a clarification on the matter given by the Minister in a press statement on 24th May, 2022 and titled ‘Achimota Forest that sets outs a history of the Achimota Forest Reserve and the various attempts to return lands that were validly acquired by the state almost a century ago, to ‘pre-acquisition owners’ as laudable.The issue, according to Occupy Ghana, is a grave matter of public interest and therefore the independent audit and its stated remit will not suffice.It noted that evidence abounds on how some of these lands have ended up in the hands of government officials and their privies.

“It even appears that some of these officials-beneficiaries were involved in the processes leading to the alleged return of lands.”“In the face of such apparent conflict of interest and conflict of duty as are outlawed by article 284 of the Constitution, we are not certain that a mere ‘independent audit’ would suffice.”“We think that, in accordance with article 278 of the Constitution, the President should be satisfied, or the Council of State should advise, or Parliament should request, that a Commission of Inquiry be appointed,” the group said.Ghanaians, the statement said, need to be informed of all returns of state lands to pre-acquisition owners since the 4th Republican Constitution came into being on 7th January 1993.And stressed there is no better way of doing this than by establishing a Commission of Inquiry appointed under Chapter 23 of the 1992 Constitution with the powers, rights and privileges of a High Court or a Justice of the High Court at a trial specified in Article 279.

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