Two-thirds of ICoast toxic waste victims compensated

25 March 2010
Agence France Presse

More than 20,000 victims of toxic waste dumped by a ship in Ivory Coast in 2006 have received compensation over the last three weeks, the head of an association representing them said Thursday. "We have delivered more than 20,000 cheques in three weeks, two thirds of the people to be compensated," said Claude Gohourou, who heads an association managing the payouts jointly with British law firm Leigh Day and Company. "We're taking a break to perfect the organisation and review the situation with the bank," he said during a press conference. So far more than 15 billion CFA francs (22.9 million euros, 31 million dollas) have already been paid and the remaining 8,000 people to be compensated will get payouts when the operation starts up again on March 31, he added.

The case stems from the August 2006 dumping of toxic waste from the Trafigura-chartered ship the Probo Koala on public rubbish tips around the city of Abidjan. The ship had earlier attempted to offload the waste in Amsterdam.

Trafigura, a Swiss-based multinational, reached an out-of-court settlement with the Ivory Coast government, agreeing in February 2007 to pay out a total of one hundred billion CFA francs in damages, which exempted it from legal proceedings in that country. Only a quarter of the money was set aside for the victims. Seventeen people died and thousands were treated in hospital for poisoning. A report by a UN expert found "strong" evidence linking the waste to the deaths. Trafigura has always denied responsibility.

"After the distribution of the funds, we are going to take further actions for the total compensation of the 100,000 victims and the cleaning of the polluted sites," Gohourou said. Gohourou has challenged the authority of the British law firm to hand out compensation payments and criticised it for keeping details of the settlement private. The British firm pointed out that Trafigura had required the settlement to remain confidential.

Return to top of page Copyright © 2010 | Flash News Converted into Blogger Template by HackTutors