The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has bemoaned the decision of the High Court to throw out its application for the court to confirm the freezing of the estate of the late Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John).
In a statement issued on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, the OSP said that the ruling of the court greatly impedes the country’s effort to fight the menace of corruption.
“If this decision is left to stand, the Republic will lose the fight against corruption in unimaginable ways. The investigations into the estate of Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie alias Sir John will still proceed,” parts of the statement released by the OSP read.
Also, it said that the ruling of the High Court is wrong since it was only asking the court to confirm the temporal freezing of Sir John’s estate and not to permanently freeze his assets.
“The Special Prosecutor asked for the freezing order to be confirmed to facilitate the investigation into the circumstances of the purported acquisition by the deceased of protected lands in the Achimota Forest enclave and the Sakumono Ramsar site. The Special Prosecutor did not apply for confiscation of the estate of the deceased.
“The judge, with respect, totally misapprehended the application for confirmation of the freezing order and misdirected herself by characterizing the application as that of a confiscation order, which regimes are governed by different considerations,” it said.
The OSP in June 2022 froze all assets of the late CEO of the Forestry Commission.
This was in line with the OSP’s investigations into the acquisition of state lands and properties that were contained in his Will.
Sir John’s Will dominated media discussions after leaked documents showed that he had bequeathed lands located in the Achimota Forest enclave and Ramsar catchment at Sakumono in Accra to some beneficiaries.
The outrage also stems from the fact that it was barely a week after the government’s Executive Instrument 144, which declassifies portions of the Forest reserve, also became topical.
The government said it was releasing portions of the peripherals of the forest to its custodial owners, the Owoo family of Accra.
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