The Office of the Special Prosecutor has been petitioned by Mr Polly John Issahaku alias Manfulwura, the Gonjaland Youth Association Organiser of the Greater branch to investigate allegations of Public funds embezzlement and corruption related activities by the Savannah Regional House of Registrar Mr Abutu Kapori and others.

In the petition dated 19th May, 2023, copied to Bole based Nkilgi Fm and other relevant stakeholder in the Savannah Region, it stated that, the decision to ban all logging and commercial charcoal production activities in the Savannah Region was taken after the Youth of Damongo on Sunday, July 29, 2018 stormed the Palace of the Overlord of Gonja, late Yagbonwura Tuntumba Boresa (I) to lodge a complaint about the extensive destruction of the environment in the area.

Polly John Issahaku alias Manfulwura said further said on 30th July, 2018, upon the petition of the Youth, the Overlord, Yagbonwura Tuntumba Boresa (I) banned logging and commercial charcoal production.

He added that the late Yagbonwura had given a seven-day ultimatum to all affected parties to convey their logs and charcoal from his jurisdiction.

Polly John Issahaku said the decision was arrived after a broader consultation between the Youth and the commercial charcoal producers and loggers as well as the other key stakeholders after a meeting at the Japka palace.

He said upon all the ban and warnings, the Savannah Region was still seen as the central charcoal production in Ghana if not West Africa.

The Greater Accra branch Gonjaland Youth Organiser said on May, 10, 2021, the Gonja Traditional Council sounding a powerful caution to the government to help the council with task force to stop the menace, else the council will deploy its own local commandos (warriors) to stop the canker and this was said by the Vice President of the Gonja Traditional Council, Jira Buipewura Jinapor (II).

According to the petitioner Mr Issahaku, on 28th April, 2021, the five (5) Eminent Chiefs Committee chaired by Bolewura Sarfo Kutuge Feso (I) finalized its work and submitted its findings to the council as a road map to end commercial charcoal production. The ban was came into effect on Monday, 10th May, 2021 across the Gonja state. The committee added that, from 10th May, 2021, any vehicle impounded with charcoal will be made to pay a penalty of Ghc5.00 per bag of charcoal, Ghc5,000 penalty charge on the vehicle load.

He also said, the five (5) Eminent member Committee of the Regional House of Chiefs added in their report and read by the Chairman; “That any paramount chief in his jurisdiction with his taskforce who might have caused a confiscation of charcoal or logs materials will lodge 70% of the proceeds with the paramountcy and the taskforce and thereby lodge 30% of the proceeds to the Regional House of Chiefs” and, “That at any exit points, the paramount chief and his taskforce if they confiscate charcoal or logs materials shall lodge with the paramountcy with its taskforce 60% of the proceeds and lodge 40% of proceeds to Regional House of Chiefs”

Polly John Issahaku added that these various taskforce across the various paramountcy’s are under the supervision of the Regional House of Chiefs Registrar, Mr. Abutu Kapori and any proceeds realized from the taskforce are given to the Registrar on behalf of the House.

According to the petition, the Registrar Mr Abutu Kapori and other members conspired together with a common purpose and forged official receipts of the House to various taskforce and money realised were shared among him and his conspired team.

In the petition, between 20/05/2021 to 24/09/2021, Mr Isshahaku alleged that the Registrar and his alleged corrupt members received GHc169,350.00 from the Wasipe Traditional Area alone and this was embezzled by Mr Abutu Kapori, Mr Mahama Adam and Mr Abdul-Samed Gbanso Abubakari.

He said; “The Registrar and his cohorts diverted various sums of money belonging to Gonja Traditional Council into their personal mobile money accounts and these act amounts to stealing”.

The petition statement pointed out that, the Chieftaincy Act, 2008 (Act 759), Article 69, subsection (1), states that, “The National House, a Regional House or Traditional Council and Divisional Council shall keep books of account and proper records in relation to the National House, a Regional House, or Traditional Council in the form approved by the Auditor-General”.

It said the Registrar forged those receipts and those books cannot be accounted for or Audit by both internal and external Auditors. If the office of the Registrar and his activities is properly probed into, more and shocking revelations would come to bare.

Polly John Issahaku is therefore, appealing to the honourable office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate these allegations of monies embezzlement and corruption-related activities of the Registrar and his associates.

According to him he has to the petition copies of press releases of Gonja Traditional Council, copies of the forged receipts, mobile money account statement of Wasipe Traditional Area Taskforce Committee Secretary, Mr. Mahama Shaibu, and flash drive loaded with press release allegations of Wasipe Traditional Area Taskforce Secretary, Mr. Mahama Shaibu and other interested members.

Manfulwura Issahaku is of the firm belief that a lot of malpractices will be uncovered when serious attention is paid to this request and is counting on the Special Prosecutor.