Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has disclosed that former President John Dramani Mahama rightly released peripheral portions of the Achimota Forest to the Owoo family, the family the state bought the land from.
He explained that Mahama's government released the land after committees set up in 2007 and 2011 to look into a petition by the Owoo family for reclamation of the land found the family's claim to be legitimate. He said the committee concluded that the land should be given back to the family because of compensation issues and also because the land was not being used for its intended purpose.
In a Good Evening Ghana interview monitored by GhanaWeb, Jinapor added that the Akufo-Addo government only declassified the released land as a forest reserve so the Owoo family could use the land for other ventures.
"…on 5th September 2013, the then president of the republic, His Excellence John Dramani Mahama, gave executive approval for the conversion of the Achimota Forest Reserve into an Eco-Tourism park and to release the peripheral portions of the forest reserve (the matter in contention now) to the Owoo family in accordance with the recommendations of the Afari Dartey committee.
"So, in 2013, President Mahama and his government, in my view, rightly granted portions of the land which has not been used as a forest reserve to the Owoo family," he said.
He added that after the approval of Mahama, the Forestry Commission granted a lease of 99 years to the Owoo Family, which led to the family registering the land in its name and granting sub-leases to some developers with the consent of the Forestry Commission.
The minister further stated that he, on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, enacted an Executive Instrument to amend the law (Forest Act, CAP 157) which made the portion of the land given to the Owoo family a reserve so that the family will have full assess it.
Also, he said that the government under former President John Agyekum Kufuor also concluded that the portion of the Achimota Forest should be given to the Owoo Family.