Ivory coast: Poisoned then defrauded


An alleged attempt to defraud Ivory Coast citizens of millions of dollars of compensation awarded for being poisoned by toxic waste has been protested by Amnesty International. An AI letter to the Ivory Coast justice minister on December 18 accused an organisation called the National Coordination of Toxic Waste Victims of Cote D'Ivoire (CNVDT-CI) of falsely claiming to represent the 30,000 victims who brought a case against oil-trading company Trafigura in Britain.

In 2006, toxic waste was brought to Abidjan, the small African country's capital, by Trafigura and dumped in various locations around the city.

One hundred thousand people needed medical attention and there were 15 reported deaths. On September 23 last year, the High Court of England and Wales approved a US$45m settlement between nearly 30,000 victims and Trafigura.

However, CNVDT-CI applied to have the funds transferred into its bank account. The organisation was originally blocked by Ivorian courts but has appealed against the decision.

The US$45m is currently frozen. In its letter, AI described CNVDT-CI"s actions as a "blatant attempt to perpetrate fraud".