Home | News    Sunday 18 September 2011

Merowe dam Technical Consultant, Lahmeyer, under investigations

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September 17, 2011 (LONDON) — Lahmeyer Int, the German consultant is under investigations with regard to its involvement in Merowe dam project in Sudan. The Frankfurt Prosecutor Office will investigate the company involvement, according to Taz, a leading German newspaper.

Merowe dam project, also known as Hamdab dam, is a hydroelectric project on the River Nile Fourth cataracts. The project was financed by different Arab funders and Chinese. It was completed in 2010 and has caused the displacement of more than 100,000 individual from three riverian communities, hamdab, Amri and the Manasir.

The matter arose last year from a criminal complaint presented by the European Center of Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR). The attorneys Wolfgang Kaleck and Miriam Saage-Maaß accuse the Corporation Lahmeyer of coercion and damage of property, inter alia. The Corporation, based in Bad Vilbel (Germany), is believed to have violated the right to property, the right to food and the right to adequate housing.

Ethnologists of the University of Bayreuth, who carried out research in the area of the Manasir people in northern Sudan and was present during the flooding, confirmed the accusations. "When the Nil broke its banks by the end of July 2008 and reached the first village, the farmers were astounded and shocked." says Valerie Hänsch, who is doing a doctorate on the relocation of the Manasir people.

According to Frankfurt Prosecutor’s Office/Main, Lahmeyer is supposed to submit a statement by autumn. After this, the ethnologist Häsch will be interrogated as a witness.

Ali Askouri, the Chairman of the Council of Merowe Dam Affected People said "we have exerted tireless efforts over the last four years to get to this point. We have overcome lengthy, complicated, tedious legal and other innumerable procedures. We exerted tremendous efforts to ensure that the role of this company in the destruction of our community is investigated. We will continue this until justice is done".

Lahmeyer Int. was debarred by the World Bank in 2004 for seven years after it was indicted and convicted by South African court in 2004 when found guilty of corruption in Lesotho Highlands Water Development project.

According to Taz, preliminary proceedings like this are rare in Germany, because German public prosecutors and prosecution services do not want to assume responsibility for the behavior of domestic corporations abroad. The judiciary in other states too often allows corporations from the rich north to do whatever they want to.

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