The Special Prosecutor (SP), Kissi Agyebeng has said he will appeal the ruling of the Accra High court against the freezing order on the assets of the late Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John.
On June 2, 2022, it was reported that the OSP had frozen assets of Sir John following the publication of his (Sir john’s) Last Will and Testament on Social media which captured some state lands as his.
On June 9, the OSP applied to the High Court for a confirmation of the order to freeze the deceased’s assets to facilitate the investigation into the circumstances of the purported acquisition by the deceased of protected lands in the Achimota Forest enclave and the Sakumono Ramsar site.
In court on July 12, 2022, the Her Ladyship Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe, dismissed the application.
According to the OSP, the Judge misapprehended the application for confirmation of the freezing order as a confiscation application.
“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, which regimes are governed by different considerations.
“The regime for an application for confirmation of a freezing order is designed to facilitate an investigation or a prosecution to avoid dissipation of the property in question. While a confiscation order is designed to permanently deprive the owner of the property”, the OSP explained.
Kissi Agyebeng noted that his office did not apply for confiscation of the estate of the deceased as mistakenly perceived by the court.
It added, “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.
“If this decision is left to stand, the Republic will lose the fight against corruption in unimaginable ways”.
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