Civil society group, Occupy Ghana, has praised the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, for launching an independent audit on the specific area of Achimota forest land that has been decommissioned.
According to the group, while it appreciates and praises the minister’s attempt to uncover the truth through the planned independent audit, a commission of inquiry is needed.
“The president should set up the Chapter 23 commission of inquiry, failing which we expect Parliament to decide unanimously or the Council of State to recommend the appointment of a commission.”
“The Minister’s audit may constitute evidence to be submitted to the Commission,” said part of a statement released by Occupy Ghana.
He described a clarification on the matter given by the Minister in a press release dated May 24, 2022 and titled “Achimota Forest which presents a history of the Achimota Forest Reserve and the various attempts to return land that have been validly acquired by the state almost a century ago, to “pre-acquisition owners” as commendable.
The matter, according to Occupy Ghana, is a serious matter of public interest and therefore the independent audit and its stated mandate will not suffice.
He noted that evidence abounds on how some of this land ended up in the hands of government officials and their latrines.
“It even appears that some of these beneficiary officials were involved in the processes leading to the alleged restitution of the land.
“Faced with such an apparent conflict of interest and conflict of duties as Section 284 of the Constitution prohibits, we are not sure that a simple ‘independent audit’ would suffice.”
“We believe that, in accordance with article 278 of the Constitution, the president should be satisfied, or the Council of State should advise, or the Parliament should request, that a commission of inquiry be appointed,” said the band.
Ghanaians, according to the statement, must be informed of all returns of state land to owners prior to acquisition since the 4th Republican Constitution came into force on January 7, 1993.
And stressed that there is no better way to achieve 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 judge of the High Court in a trial specified in section 279. .
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