Lands Ministry To Commission An Audit Into Acreage Of Land De-gazetted

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources says it intends to commission an independent audit into the matters relating to the de-gazetting of the peripheral portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve.

This was contained in a Statement issued by the sector Minster, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, MP, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 on the Achimota Forest matters.

There were reports, earlier last week, that the Achimota Forest has been reclassified and sold. However, in a sharp rebuttal, the Ministry said only the peripheral portions of the Forest Reserve, which had been leased to the Owoo Family, were de-gazetted.

It said the core portions of the Forest Reserve, had been preserved by the Forests (Achimota Firewood Plantation Forest Reserve) (Amendment) Instrument, 2022 (E.I. 154).

A section of the public have, however, raised concerns about the size of the land de-gazetted as a Forest Reserve. But in the Press Statement issued by the Minister, the Ministry said the acreage de-gazetted were submitted by the technical people from the Forestry Commission.

The Statement narrated the history of the various variations in the acreage de-gazetted, from 2008 to the date of final publication of the Executive Instrument.

The Statement also hints of plans to undertake independent audit into the acreage released as a Forest Reserve. “The Ministry intends to initiate a process of an independent audit on the specific issue of the acreage de-gazetted and will act accordingly in the public interest, should that become necessary,” the Statement said.

It adds that the Government will act on all improper acquisition of land, whether now or in the past.

The Ministry says it is committed to the protection, proper management and utilisation of the lands and natural resources of the country, and that the Achimota Forest is an integral part of Government’s plan for the protection of the country’s forest cover and the afforestation and reforestation agenda.

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith