The government has given the Asantehene more than 400 acres of state land, including a portion of the military barracks in Kumasi.
The Fourth Estate has observed a directive to this effect issued to governmental entities.
It is signed by Mrs. Emelia Ayebeng Botchway, Chief Director of the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council, on behalf of Regional Minister Simon Osei Mensah.
The letter references the publication of “Executive Instrument 432 of 2021 by Government for Redevelopment of Sector 18 of Kumasi” in the Ghana Gazette on December 31, 2021.
According to the order, the legislative instrument “has vested and released a section of state land in the Ridge Residential Area of Kumasi to the Asantehene on behalf of and in trust for the Golden Stool.”
“The 409.24-acre released portion extends from the North-Western Section of the military barracks near the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. The site’s western and southern boundaries are the Bekwai road and the Santasi roundabout, respectively. The area also lies towards Dakwodwom and the KCC/State Experimental School to the north, along the Danyame Stream, with the Cedar Road serving as the eastern boundary, according to the instruction.
The reclaimed property contains both privately-owned properties to be maintained and state bungalows to be relocated to the area held by the government, according to the instruction.
“All lessees of private and public residential and other properties inside the reclaimed area must also attorn tenancy to the Asantehene. With the implementation of Executive Instrument (E.I.) 432, all lessees will be required to pay annual ground rent to the Golden Stool, with the Asantehene holding the reversionary interest,” it stated.
In February of last year, a private developer in the Ridge neighborhood of Kumasi erected a wall across an asphalt road, drawing popular outcry. According to our sources, this is a portion of the land the government gave to Asantehene.
This obstruction hindered access to the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council, the regional minister’s office.
The Fourth Estate attempted to contact the Regional Minister of Ashanti for comment, but he did not return our phone calls. His press secretary, however, stated that he was unable to comment on the situation because the regional coordinating council was the appropriate entity to speak on the matter. He instructed us to speak with the minister directly.
When The Fourth Estate reached the regional Minister through a journalist stationed in Kumasi, he declined to comment. Whoever desired information about the land entrusted to the Asantehene was instructed to contact the Lands Commission.
We also contacted the Asantehene’s secretary to determine whether the government had officially conveyed the letter’s contents to the Asantehene. He has pledged to respond in the future.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, confirmed to the Fourth Estate that the government had signed an executive instrument transferring some state lands in Kumasi to the Asantehene.
The revelation that the Asantehene will receive state land in Kumasi follows the government’s controversial declassification of the Achimota forest.
On May 1, 2022, Executive Instrument 144, which declassified the Achimota forest, went into force, stating that a significant chunk of the Achimota Forest was no longer a reserve.
“According to Executive Instrument (E.I.) 144, published on behalf of President Akufo-Addo by Lands Minister Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, the property on which the forest is located will cease to be a forest reserve on May 1, 2022.
The executive document stated, “The President’s action was in conformity with Section 19 of the Forest Act of 1927 (CAP. 157) which gives him the right to declare that specific territory is no longer necessary as a forest reserve.”
Public outcry greeted the action on Achimota, with many seeing it as an attempt to sell state lands to politicians and the elite.
Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, denied the allegations. The government stated that the Achimota Forest lands will only be returned to the original landowners, the Owoo family.
This rationale, however, experienced a crisis of credibility when The Fourth Estate revealed that the late chief executive officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, aka Sir John, had bequeathed significant tracts of Achimota territory to his relatives.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources stated that it will investigate the state lands mentioned in the will. According to a ministry statement, the state would acquire the Achimota Forest areas and the Sakumono Ramsar site lands, both of which were included in the bequest.