An Accra High Court presided over by Her Ladyship, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe, has declined the Office of the Special Prosecutor from freezing the assets of late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), former CEO of the Forestry Commission.
The Special Prosecutor had frozen the assets of Sir John for further investigation over suspected corruption.
The Office subsequently filed an application at the High Court for confirmation of the freezing order, but the application was dismissed, on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.
Unhappy with the dismissal of the application, the Office of the Special Prosecutor, in a statement, insisted that: “the judge with respect totally misapprehended the application for confirmation of the freezing order and misdirected herself by characterising the application as that of a confiscation order”.
The Office has thus decided to appeal the ruling.
“On this reckoning, the Special Prosecutor has directed the filing of an appeal against the ruling of Her Ladyship Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe. The net effect of the ruling of the High Court is that a person may, in his lifetime, gleefully acquire property through corruption and then upon his demise, happily pass on the corruptly acquired property to his beneficiaries for their benefit and by so doing, extinguish all scrutiny as to the propriety or otherwise of the acquisition of the property because his corrupt activities were not discovered during his lifetime.”
The Special Prosecutor in the statement explained it is appealing the ruling because: “If this decision is left to stand, the Republic will lose the fight against corruption in unimaginable ways”.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor commenced investigations into alleged corruption by Sir John after it emerged that he had illegally acquired state lands within the Achimota forest and the Sakumono Ramsar site.
Some civil society groups had petitioned the Special Prosecutor and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate the acquisition of the state lands.
The will caused public uproar after he bequeathed state lands to some relatives.
It went viral online and sparked anger among many Ghanaians.
The emergence of the will came after the controversial declassification of parts of the Achimota Forest and the return to its allodial owners.