Greenpeace says bribery used in ICoast waste dump case
Greenpeace accused Tuesday the Swiss-based multinational company Trafigura of bribing truck drivers into giving false testimonies, in the toxic waste dumping case in Ivory Coast in 2006.
"Trafigura asked them to say that the waste was not dangerous, that it had not had any impact on their lives," a spokeswoman for the environmental organisation said.
In August 2006, the Probo Koala ship, chartered by Swiss-based multinational oil trading firm Trafigura, dumped caustic soda and petroleum residues on city waste tips in Abidjan, having been prevented from offloading in Amsterdam.
The toxic waste dumping caused 17 deaths and thousands of poisoning cases, according to Ivory Coast lawyers.
The truck drivers who transported the toxic waste from the ship to the tips in Abidjan were "affected" and two have died, Greenpeace said.
Trafigura and the ship's captain are being investigated in the Netherlands for allegedly breaching local laws governing waste export.
On Friday Greenpeace gave the Dutch court a report containing the testimonies it had collected from the drivers.
"The statement from Greenpeace has arrived and we will study it," a spokeswoman for the prosecution said.
"They received 650 euros (800 dollars) on February 11, 2009 and 2,300 euros on April 12, 2010," Greenpeace said, regarding the amounts Trafigura allegedly paid to the drivers for saying they were in good health.
Trafigura said in a statement that it had "never promised money to the drivers for their testimonies."
The company did say however that it paid nearly 2,300 euros to each driver at the start of the year, after "blackmail" by one driver who threatened to testify against Trafigura.
Trafigura has already paid a one hundred billion CFA francs (152 million euros) in damages to the victims in an out-of-court deal with the Ivory Coast government which exempts it from legal proceedings in that country.
A court case in Britain was dropped after an out-of-court settlement worth 33 million euros for 31,000 plaintiffs reached on September 19 last year.
© 2010 AFP