Former General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John, has passed away.
He is reported to have died on Wednesday at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra after a short illness.
Sir John was the CEO of the Forestry Commission.
According to sources he tested positive for Covid-19 and succumbed to complications of the disease while undergoing treatment at the ICU of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
Sir John was born in the Ashanti Region and he attended Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School in Bekwai from where he obtained his GCE Ordinary level certificate.
He proceeded to obtain his GCE Advanced level certificate from Konongo Odumase Secondary School in Konongo.
Mr Owusu Afriyie was admitted to study political science at the University of Ghana after which he enrolled at the Ghana School of Law where he graduated with Bachelor of Laws.
He was then admitted as a solicitor and counsel for the Supreme Court of Ghana. Sir John entered into private law practice in 1981.
During the John Agyekum Kufour administration, he was appointed head of legal services at the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
He was later made to act as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the corporation.
While managing his firm, Afriyie was also actively engaged in Ghanaian politics.
He lost his bid to secure a second term to Kwabena Agyapong. In May 2017, while serving as the CEO of the Forestry Commission, he publicly declared that he would contest the New Patriotic Party’s general secretary elections if there was an overwhelming call for him to do so.
CEO of Forestry Commission
In March 2017, President Nana Akuffo-Addo appointed Afriyie as CEO of the Forestry Commission. He replaced Samuel Afari Dartey, whose term as the CEO had ended.
His appointment was surprising to many Ghanaians because of many rumours that he was linked to the position of head of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.
That position was given to Paul Asare Ansah. Afriyie later revealed that the rumours were true but he had rejected the appointment due to his fear of the sea. He thanked the president for the Forestry Commission appointment and believed that since he hailed from the forest zone of Ghana, he would be able to have a greater impact in that area.
As CEO of the Forestry Commission, Afriyie’s job is to oversee the various public agencies that form the divisions of the Commission. His first assignment as head of the commission was to supervise the celebration of World Forest Day which fell on 21 March 2017.