Former Environment and Science Minister, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng has stated in a report how he once referred to former Forestry Commission boss, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John) as the greatest danger to forests in the country.
Frimpong-Boateng cited actions and inactions of Sir John during his tenure as FC boss to buttress his point in a confidential report submitted to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2019.
Among others, he stated that Sir John was giving out timber concessions in forest reserves and was also actively engaged in mining using Chinese gangs.
He also picked out the refusal of FC to join an anti-galamsey taskforce’s GalamStop platform – which the government created to coordinate the fight against the menace which was polluting water bodies and ravaging Ghana’s forest cover.
“I was not surprised that the Forestry Commission did not migrate onto the GalamStop platform. Mr. Kwadwo Owusus Afriyie (aka Sir John) was actively giving out timber concessions, even in forest reserves for logging.
“Through Charles Owusu, the Director of Operations at the Forestry Commission, Sir John had Chinese gangs doing mining on his behalf. The issue about rose wood is something that is beyond the scope of this report.
“I remember that at a meeting in the conference room of the President, I told the president in the presence of Sir John that the greatest danger to the forests of Ghana was Sir John,” page 10 of the report stated.
Frimpong-Boateng’s 36-page report titled: Report On The IMCIM And The Way Forward, detailed the complicity of top government officials, some at the presidency, Member of Parliaments on both sides of the divide as well as top party officials who have been engaged in the illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) business.
Sir John, a former General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) died on July 1, 2023 in Accra of COVID-19 complications.
In the aftermath of his death, portions of his will generated chatter leading to probe by anti-corruption outlet, Office of the Special Prosecutor.