I’m against any Lands Minister who acquires lands being negotiated to return to owners – Boadu

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The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) John Boadu has said he is against any Minister of Lands and Natural Resources who acquire portions of government lands that are being negotiated to return to owners.

He described acquiring such lands by the Minister as conflict of interest, an act he says he frowns upon.

He was speaking on the alleged improper acquisition of state lands by the late former Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), in an interview with TV3’s Johnnie Hughes on the New Day show Wednesday June 1.

Mr Boadu called for a dispassionate discussion of this matter.

He said “…we must put this discussion in the perspective. I have a huge problem If you are a Minister for Lands and you are part of the negotiations in returning lands to the owners and you end up acquiring some or being [gifted] some per the arrangement, it is conflict of interest, straight forward.

“So you must be able to distinguish between the two, for instance, assuming, as per the discussions, I John Boadu, I don’t work at Lands Department, I don’t work at Forestry Commission, I have heard that there is land at Achimota and I have gone to buy 100,000 Cedis and my name appears, because I am General Secretary, I have committed a crime?

“So Johnnie Hughes can buy, I cannot buy? It is not a question of morality, it is a question of propriety because the people have been given the land to use to use it for what the planning authority would decide.

“I am sad seeing aspects of the whole programme where you have allocation for protocol, I am against it. I am against it also because many of these protocols are individuals who get them and lot in the name of the party. We have been looking round for lands to build our party new party office, why wouldn’t they have given us one? They collect it, and the party is not aware , it is individual benefit, so if we are discussing these issues, we should discuss it dispassionately and single out the individuals because they don’t act in the name of the party, they act in their individual interest.”

Meanwhile, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has said it has started investigations into the alleged improper acquisition of state lands by Sir John.

A statement issued by the OSP on Thursday May 26 said “The Office of the Special Prosecutor has commenced full investigations into suspected corruption and corruption-related offences in respect of alleged improper and unlawful acquisition of state lands at the Achimota Forest enclave and Ramstar catchment at Sakumono in Accra by former Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie alias Sir John (Now deceased) and other persons.”

The Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, James Dadson however, said there was no record of Sir John at the commission owning portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve.

“There is nothing in our records concerning that. What you read is what I have read. We don’t have anything recorded here for Sir John as far as our records are concerned,” James Dadson told journalists in Accra on Monday May 23.

A supposed will of Sir John which is currently in circulation in a section of the Ghanaian media indicated that the late Forer General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) owned portions of the forest reserve and accordingly bequeathed them to his relatives.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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