The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has indicated that former President John Mahama gave executive approval for the conversion of the Achimota Forest Reserve into an Ecotourism Park, and to release the peripheral portions of the Forest Reserve to the Owoo Family.
According to him, the Forestry Commission, acting on behalf of Mahama, three (3) leases executed in September 2013, granted portions of the Forest Reserve to the Owoo Family for a term of ninety-nine (99) years.
Jinapor explained that Mahama 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.
In an interview with Paul Adom-Otchere on Good Evening Ghana on Metro TV, he stated that the government led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo 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,” Jinapor stated.
He further stressed that Mahama entered into an agreement with Aikan Capital, a limited liability company for the development of the core area of the Forest into an Ecotourism Park.
The Forestry Commission also executed a lease agreement with the company in February 2016, by which 227.84 hectares of the Forest Reserve were leased to the company to undertake the planned development.