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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Special Prosecutor’s request to keep Sir John’s assets frozen dismissed

Former Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John)

An Accra High Court has dismissed a request by the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyabeng, to extend his power to freeze assets of the late CEO of Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, also known as Sir John.

Mr Agyabeng froze the assets as part of investigations the office commenced into the acquisition of state lands and property that were contained in Mr Afriyie’s will.

In May this year, it emerged that the will of Sir John contained some parcels of land at the Achimota Forest Reserve and the Sakumono Ramsar site. It also contained four parcels of land in the Achimota Forest, which the late politician gifted to some individuals.

The Will also had huge sums of money in both his local and foreign accounts.

As a result of the public uproar that greeted the news, the OSP in a press statement issued on Thursday, May 26 said it has commenced investigations into it.

This, according to JoyNews’ checks, has led to the freezing of his bank accounts and all assets. The Special Prosecutor then filed processes in court to extend this order.

Section 38 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act , Act 959, empowers the Special Prosecutor to direct the freezing of assets if he holds the view that it is necessary for investigations. He is then required to apply to a court within 14 days for a confirmation of the freezing order.

This is what led the SP to file the current processes. The High Court, however, took the view that the Special Prosecutor should have initiated the process under Section 54 of the Act.

This provision deals with the procedure where a person dies or absconds. This empowers the SP to make a request for confiscation of such a property.

Joynews sources say the Special Prosecutor intends to challenge this decision at the Court of Appeal.

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