National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Mr Freddie Blay has said the fact that some persons within the NPP may have acquired properties through questionable means does not make every member of the party a crook as is being claimed by some persons especially within the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the NPP’s Western Region elections on Sunday May 29, he said when asked for his reaction to the the alleged improper acquisition of state lands by the late Former Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), he accused some members of the NDC of acquiring properties immediately they got political power to form the government although they had never worked in their life.
He said “If you want to talk about the NDC … there are people who have never worked in their life who joined the party, and before you realize have various mansions, flats and several of them, they have never worked in their life.
“Fortunately, [Sir John’s issue] has come out, it is part of our drive to fight corruption, if indeed he acquired them illegally, why not let the axe fall. But on the other hand, don’t make it look like this is a mantra of NPP corruption. When you want to talk about sharing government lands from Nkrumah’s days to now, there have been estates, there have been bungalows, lands of which some people have taken in one way or the other, we need to make a law against that, that you go into government you should never buy government lands, and, let us do that now.
“Don’t make it look as if because Sir John has bought lands and so therefore, all NPP people are crooks and that they have acquired illegal.
“I have a car, does it mean that I went to steal to buy a car, I have a building, maybe even buildings, does it mean that because of that it means I have been a thief as the Party’s chairman and serving on the Board of GNPC?”
Meanwhile, a private legal practitioner, Mr Kwame Jantuah has called for the establishment of an Independent Commission to investigate the alleged improper acquisition of state lands by Sir John.
He was reacting to the decision by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to investigate the matter.
The OSP announced that it had 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.”
Prior to this announcement, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources said it was investigating the supposed will that lists some individual relatives of Mr Owusu Afriyie to be given some portions of the Achimota Forest, which has become a topical issue the past days as a result of an Executive Instrument signed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuf-Addo to declassify portions.
“I give my portion of land that I jointly own at the Achimota Forest in the name of DML Limited to Elizabeth Asare Boateng who at the time of making this will is domiciled in the USA forever,” point g. of the will of the late public official, popularly known as Sir John, stated as captured on social media.
But the Ministry said it was probing this.
“The Ministry takes a very serious view of the allegations, and has requested for all documents relating to the lands in question, as part of an initial inquiry to ascertain the veracity of the claims,” a statement issued on Sunday, May 22 by the Ministry said.
“Considering that the issues that form the basis of the allegations predate the tenure of the current Minister, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, MP, it is important that he is seized with the full facts to enable him take appropriate action, if, indeed, there is any merit in the claims.
“The Ministry assures the general public and the good people of Ghana that it will ensure that the national interest is protected at all times, especially in matters pertaining to the Achimota Forest.”
Speaking on the Key Points on TV3 with Dzifa Bampoh on Saturday May 28, Mr Jantuah said ” An Independent, nonpartisan Commission of Inquiry must investigate this, it shouldn’t be the Lands Ministry or the OSP.”
Director of Legal Affairs of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Abraham Amaliba who also spoke on the same show also called for a bipartisan parliamentary committee to look into this matter.
“We need a bipartisan committee from parliament to deal with it.
“It should be opened to the public, let us invite people to testify, we will get to know how the forest was distributed to public servants apart from Sir John.
“If you want the OSP to do it he will just limit himself to the will and that will not address our our pain. Our pain is that a number of people have acquired state lands which is not just Sir John.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana