The will of the late Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, has left some Ghanaians in shock as concerns are raised about how public officials are able to amass wealth within a short time in power.
The late Mr. Afriyie also known as Sir John was a former general secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP). He died of Covid-19-related complications on July 1, 2020, while still in office as the head of the Forestry Commission.
The massive wealth he bequeathed to his family and loved ones is still a subject of discussion, especially as the The Fourth Estate has revealed he did not declare his assets before taking over the Forestry Commission.
This is contrary to Article 286 of the 1992 Constitution and Public Office Holders (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) Act which mandates persons appointed into public offices to declare their assets.
Before his demise, Sir John owned 13 houses at various locations in Accra and Kumasi and his hometown, Sakora Wonoo, in the Ashanti Region.
The houses are:
- House on plot number GA54480 located in Ogbojo, East Legon, and dated February 12, 2018
- House on plot number GA 55329 located at Oyarifa No. 2, dated May 11, 2018
- House on plot number GA 55475 located at Oyarifa No.1, dated September 27, 2017
- House on plot number GA 5881 located at Adjiringanor, Accra, (white House), dated August 7, 2019.
- A 6-bedroom house located at Patangbe, Ogbojo, near East Legon.
- A 4-bedroom house located in Mempeheusem, East Legon
- A 3-bedroom house on plot number TDA 4140 located in Mempehuesem, East Legon
- Another 3-bedroom house on plot number TDA 4140 located in Mempehuesem, East Legon
- A 4-bedroom house on plot number GA56838 located in East Legon and dated October 25, 2018
- A 5-bedroom house located in Sakora Wonoo
- A 4-storey building located in East Legon, with 10 apartments, each apartment consisting of 3-bedrooms; and five apartments, each consisting of two bedrooms
- A house at East Legon Hills
- A house in Kumasi, Ashanti region.
Assets Sir John acquired while in office
Sir John who was appointed the CEO of the Forestry Commission in March 2017 did not state when most of the landed properties, money in bank accounts and investments were acquired or the businesses he owned were set up.
However, he named dates along with the registration details of five of the houses in his will. Incidentally, all five dates were while he was the CEO of the Forestry Commission, The Fourth Estate reports.
When he was just six months in office, his house acquired at Oyarifa No. 1 is dated September 27, 2017 with the registration.
A second house at Ogbojo in Accra is dated February 12, 2018, along with the details in the will.
A third house in Sir John’s collection is dated May 11, 2018, in the will, and a fourth on October 25, 2018.
By his 30th month in office, Sir John, a lawyer and NPP’s general secretary from 2010 to 2014, had five houses registered in his name. The fifth one came on August 7, 2019.
Eight other houses contained in his will do not have the dates of acquisition.
His listed wealth also included 12 parcels of land.
Sir John’s will also contains 15 foreign and local bank and investment accounts (both individual and corporate ) with one of the local banks having GH₵ 2 million.
His list of businesses includes a fuel station located at Kentinkrono in the Ashanti Region; 10 fuel tankers (worth about $780,000, according to The Fourth Estate’s checks); one teak plantation located at Nkawie in the Ashanti Region; a rubber plantation located in the Eastern Region; three stalls located at the new Kejetia market in Kumasi, also in the Ashanti Region and Farms at Ejura in the Ashanti Region.
He also owned a fleet of 15 private vehicles, including a Lexus LX570, Lexus V6, Mercedes Benz E68 Sport AMG, Honda Pilot V6, Honda Accord Sport, Toyota Landcruiser V8, Ford 150 and Lexus Saloon Car, 2019 model.
Meanwhile, a former aide to the late politician has bemoaned the discussion of the will in public domain.
Charles Owusu, who was a close confidant of Sir John believes it is inappropriate to be discussing the properties of his former boss.
He’s urged Ghanaians to respect the dead while the family deal with their issues relating to will.