Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu has said that the court ruling that stopped the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) from freezing the assets of the late Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), was surprising because a lot of people thought the properties were going to be embargoed.
Nonetheless, Mr Kpebu said, it is refreshing that the Special Prosecutor has indicated he is going to appeal the court decision.
Speaking on the News @10 on TV3 with Martin Asiedu-Darteh on Tuesday July 12, Mr Kpebu said when asked whether he was surprised at the ruling that “Definitely, it is surprising because, I think a lot of us took it for granted that the application was just going to be granted, that is to say, the assets will be frozen for the longer period of the investigation and possibly prosecution.
“So, it is really surprising that this ruling has gone the other way. But that is how legal processes sometimes go, all is not lost yet. It is good that the Special Prosecutor has indicated that he is going to appeal, so let us see how it goes.”
The High Court in Accra on Tuesday July 12 dismissed the application filed by the OSP.
On 30th May 2022 the Special Prosecutor directed the freezing of the assets. On 9th June 2022, the Special Prosecutor applied to the High Court for a confirmation of the freezing order but, on 12th July 2022, the High Court presided over by Her Ladyship Justice Efia Serwah Browe inexplicably dismissed the application.
The Special Prosecutor Kissi Agyebeng expressed his disappointment in the High Court ruling. The OSP said Ghana will lose the fight against corruption if this decision is allowed to stand.
In spite of the court ruling, the OSP said the investigations into the estate of Sir John will still proceed.
“If this decision is left to stand, the Republic will lose the fight against corruption in unimaginable ways. The investigations into the estate of Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie alias Sir John will still proceed,” the OSP said in a statement reacting to the ruling.
A supposed will of Sir John circulated in a section of the Ghanaian media.
On Monday May 23, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources indicated that it had taken a serious exception and was investigating the the matter.
The documents lists some individual relatives of Mr Owusu Afriyie’s to be allocated some portions of the Achimota Forest, which has become a topical issue the past days as a result of an Executive Instrument signed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuf-Addo to declassify portions.
“I give my portion of land that I jointly own at the Achimota Forest in the name of DML Limited to Elizabeth Asare Boateng who at the time of making this will is domiciled in the USA forever,” point g. of the will of the late public official, popularly known as Sir John, stated as captured on social media.
But the Ministry says it will probe this.
“The Ministry takes a very serious view of the allegations, and has requested for all documents relating to the lands in question, as part of an initial inquiry to ascertain the veracity of the claims,” a statement issued on Sunday, May 22 by the Ministry said.
OSP Communications:— Office of the Special Prosecutor-Ghana (@ospghana) July 12, 2022
ESTATE OF KWADWO OWUSU-AFRIYIE
ALIAS SIR JOHN
“If this decision is left to stand, the Republic will lose the fight against corruption in unimaginable ways. The investigations into the estate of Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie alias Sir John will still proceed”. pic.twitter.com/nLYNbyBqnz