I have the account of Mark Daniels. I have the account of Joe Benson. I'm looking for Ezenwa Ogbonnaya and M2 Ventures Limited ... That will make 3 UK electronics recycling companies who were tried in the press.
In Part 1, as well as the "Sodom and Gomorrah" blog, we traced the outrage and arrests back to two men, Jim Puckett and Mike Anane.
- That Agbogbloshie was a very large e-waste dump... perhaps "biggest in the world"
- That the Odaw River was a pristine, green African "Eden" just a decade ago, "teeming with fish"
- That the lead in the soil at the dump does not come from automobiles, but from dumped electronics
- That 80% of the electronics shipped to Ghana are "junk" and the other 20% "fail after between 2 and 6 months"
- That most of the work done at Agbogbloshie is by children, orphans, under age 18
- That the majority of workers at AGbogbloshie die of cancer in 2 years.
Well, well, well... this is the information that was recited by Anane and Puckett at an Interpol meeting I attended at EPA offices in Arlington VA in March 2010. Puckett and Anane were introduced by the UK's Environmental Agency head, Lord Chris Smith.
These horrible "e-waste facts" were also recited to Raphael Rowe of BBC in "Panorama".
If half of the "e-waste facts" were half true, it would indeed be understandable that the Environmental Agency prosecuted Joe Benson, Mark Daniels, and Ezenwa Ogbonnaya for dumping - or rather selling - used electronics to Africa's Tech Sector.
But the accusers, the prosecutors, never met anyone in Africa's Tech Sector, did they?
Us who export have plenty in common, Massa Lord Chris Smith. What me, and Wahab, and Emmanuel, and Hamdy, and Jinex, and Souleymane, and Essam, and Fung, and Kamildeen, and Abdullah, and dozens of other Fair Trade Recycling member have in common is that we are who we say we are and do what we say we do.
There is literally a scene in BBC Panorama's Track my trash where Anane, standing at Agbogbloshie, shows a broken CRT screen and wipes the aluminum phosphor dust onto his finger and tells Rowe (as the camera man zooms in) that the silvery substance is "leaded dust". And Rowe can be forgiven for falling for it, he seems like an honorable guy. But it's not the crime, it's the cover up, and when you see that no SBC research backed up any of Anane's claims, you need to get a second opinion. There are hundreds of second opinions I can find for you in Africa.
We have been "having relations" with Africa for decades. And we have walked around in each others shoes enough that when we hear someone like Mike Anane speak, we are not intimidated. Most of the people exporting and importing to Africa have lived there, and know people there, and could have given you the Odaw River Story and found you a REAL journalist in Ghana to speak to.
And as it turns out, they never did any background research on Mike Anane. What newspaper he claimed to be journalist for... whether he could possibly have been swimming and fishing in the Odaw River in the late 1990s or early 2000s. They didn't get the average ages of the Agbogbloshie workers... they didn't count the incoming daily number of scrap electronics, or track the young men with wheelbarrows and hand carts who fetch them.
This is all on film. The entire "crime" is a hoax.
Agbogbloshie is NOT, as Anane says on film, on the "outskirts" of Accra. It is visible on Google maps, nine minutes from the capital city's finest hotels and shopping malls, in the very heart of Accra.
Pollution in Accra is not a hoax, but its sources have all been tracked for decades. Most of the pollution is from industry upstream from Agbogbloshie, and most of the lead in the soil is from automobile scrap, which is most of the material in Agbogbloshie.
The scene of the "crime" is where you find "habeus corpus"... show the body, show the evidence a crime was committed.
What we found in Agbogbloshie effectively exonerates Daniels, Benson, and Ogbonnaya. If it implicates anyone at all, it is Puckett and Anane, who have repeatedly doubled down on a story...
And none of the money goes to the scrappers whose photos you use.
BBC Panorama, if you have an ombudsman, get Raphael Rowe to tell you if Anane charged money. And get him to ask which importer in Ghana they interviewed. Then contact Jacopo Ottaviana of #ewasterepublic and compare their story.
There is a far more interesting story to be told. Africa's Tech Sector, knitting cities together with teledensity the same way that the Asian Tigers did, by repairing and patchworking together the "good enough market". The importers are Africa's BEST AND BRIGHTEST. They are not ophans to be saved by the #charitableindustrialcomplex.
I've repeatedly tried to reach Row @areporter via twitter. Puckett and Anane may be telling Rowe that I'm some kind of mentally imbalanced person.
Remember what people in the town called Atticus Finch.