Hazardous waste to be sent back

The National Security is contemplating sending the bags suspected to be hazardous waste, but labeled as plant-growth regulator, back to Ukraine where it originated from.

This is because the National Security is convinced the plant-growth regulator — as the bags in the containers were labelled, are actually not fertilizers.

A National Security source told The Ghanaian Times on Monday, that no further tests had been conducted on the 17 20-footer containers to ascertain the real contents of the waste, as the security apparatus had decided to rely on last year’s report which did not show the materials as toxic”.

The source said the National Security was looking for toxic substances in the plant-growth regulator, but the report made no reference to toxic waste.”

To be on the safer side, another source hinted that “a decision may be taken to re-ship the containers to the country of origin”.

When contacted yesterday, the Communications Director of the National Security, Col. Emmanuel W.K Nibo, (rtd) told The Ghanaian Times that the outfit “is still waiting for the final report to ascertain the next line of action.

“For now, I can’t confirm what is in the report. Maybe, it would take a while,” he said, adding that the National Security would decide either to make known the outcome of the report or not to.

In the first tests conducted on November 24, 2014, at the behest of the National Security, the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) took samples from five of the 17 containers which were found to have traces of such heavy metals as zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), magnesium (Mg), copper (Cu), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg).

The test report signed on December 15, 2014, by the Executive Director of GSA, Dr. George B. Crentsil, stated that though volatile poisons were not detected, “all the metals indicated above were in each of the samples”.

A source at the Atlas Terminal in Tema had told The Ghanaian Times that no one could stand the pungent ‘chemical’ stench that emitted from the containers when they were eventually opened last year in the presence of the National Security, Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), GSA, Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Atomic Energy and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

Information available to The Ghanaian Times had it that, an agent of the Humble Trust Company, who cleared the consignment, was picked up by the National Security a fortnight ago for interrogation after The Ghanaian Times exposure.

As The Ghanaian Times reported earlier, the agent had been “playing hide-and-seek” with the National Security until he was traced to his hide-out, picked up and released afterwards.

The Ghanaian Times investigations have also established that the importers of the consignment are Ukrainians — one of whom died in Ghana some time last year, after a short illness. The surviving importer has since returned home.

Nobody has come forward to claim ownership of the consignment. Humble Trust, the agency that cleared the containers, are also said to have maintained their innocence, insisting that “we only did normal clearing work for our money”.

As of now, the National Security has failed to unravel the circumstances under which some of the containers were taken out of the port and discharged.

It is recalled that The Ghanaian Times painstaking investigations over several months, on Tuesday, July 21, blew the lid on the suspected containers which had been detained for the past 15 months at the state warehouse, Atlas Terminal, in Tema.

By John Vigah

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