One of Africa's highest environmental damage settlements was reached on February 13, 2007, between the Ivory Coast government and a Dutch-based commodity trading company in a toxic waste dumping case in the port city of Abidjan.
The company, Trafigura Beheer bv, agreed to pay us$197 million to secure the release of three executives from an Ivory Coast prison and to settle other claims. In August 2006, Trafigura's ship Probo Koala illegally dumped toxic waste in Abidjan that killed 10 people and poisoned about 100,000.
Trafigura agreed to the settlement in exchange for which Ivorian officials have agreed to abandon legal action against it. But the company asserted that it does not accept any liability for the spill. It also claims the waste offloaded was not toxic. But a un study found high concentrations of toxic chemicals in the waste (see 'Mopping up toxic dump', October 31, 2006).
Part of the compensation will finance an independent environmental audit of the incident and construction of a waste disposal plant and hospital.
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