Norwegian Diplomat Arrested in Toxic Waste Case
Jun. 10, 1988
CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) _ Norway's consul general has been arrested for complicity in the secret dumping of 15,000 tons of toxic waste from the United States, the government said.
The arrest, announced Thursday, was the latest event in a growing scandal over dumping of toxic wastes in Africa by developed countries.
Proposals for shipping such material are on the increase, according to a Greenpeace International report released Thursday in Caracas, Venezuela.
Guinea identified the Norwegian consul general as Sigmund Strome but provided no other details about the charges. International law gives diplomats immunity from prosecution.
Ibrahima Sory Diaby, Guinean secretary of state for security, announced on Radio Conakry that several Guinean employees of the Ministry of Commerce also were arrested for granting import licenses for the waste.
The toxic material, which was dumped on the island of Kassa off Conakry, originated in the United States, Diaby said. He said it was shipped from Philadelphia.
The West African nation's government said a Norwegian company with government links, Aluko-Guinee, imported the waste and was still holding 85,000 tons.
Diaby said the waste had been imported under the guise of construction materials, and the company was to receive $50 per ton for each ton of waste.
The government has demanded that the waste be returned at the cost of the company.
The dumping was discovered when trees began dying on the island, the government said.
In Caracas, representatives of Greenpeace distributed their report during a conference devoted to drafting a global accord on controlling the international shipments of hazardous wastes. The five-day meeting, sponsored by the U.N. Environment Program, includes delegates from 50 nations and 14 international organizations.
The Greenpeace report said 12 shipments of hazardous wastes, including five involving U.S. firms, have been designated for transport from industrialized countries to Africa this year. The report said there were only two African- bound shipments from the United States before 1988.