22 January 2015 by Tom Goulding

Waste director prosecuted for illegal Ghana WEEE exports

The director of an East London recycling firm has received a 40-week suspended prison sentence following 11 failed attempts to illegally ship WEEE to Ghana.

Moses Appiah, the 57-year-old sole director of Appiahdeep Company Ltd in Rainham, was sentenced at Barkingside Magistrates Court this week (January 19) after pleading guilty to 11 offences of transporting hazardous waste.

The containers were filled with items from and loaded at Appiahdeep Company Ltd’s premises in Rainham

The containers were filled with items from and loaded at Appiahdeep Company Ltd’s premises in Rainham

Appiahdeep Company Ltd also pleaded guilty to 11 identical offences, and was fined £18,500 and ordered to pay £1,000 towards costs.

The court heard that 11 shipping containers loaded with waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) were intercepted by the Environment Agency prior to export to Ghana between August 2012 and June 2013.

The containers included a large amount of hazardous items such as unpackaged cathode ray tube televisions and fridge freezers.

In each case, the containers were filled with items from and loaded at Appiahdeep Company Ltd’s premises at Dovers Corner Industrial Estate, Rainham. The address for the company is a warehouse, which the Environment Agency claimed was filled with used electrical and electronic equipment.

Hazardous

Sending WEEE with hazardous components to less economically developed nations is illegal, as these countries lack the proper facilities to ensure items are treated without risk to human health or the environment.

And, while functioning used electrical items can be exported for reuse, they must be checked to ensure they are safe and can be used. Records of testing must be attached to the items and they must be protectively packaged prior to transport.

In addition to receiving a suspended custodial sentence, Mr Appiah was disqualified from acting as a company director for five years and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs.

Mr Appiah must also observe a six month curfew, which is imposed between the hours of 8pm and 6am.

After the prosecution, Kim Egbokhan, senior environmental crime officer at the Environment Agency, said: “We put a lot of resource into educating operators in the Rainham area about the dangers of illegal transport of waste and so it is immensely frustrating when we have to prosecute people and companies for this crime.

“We will, however, continue to do this for however long it takes, in order to bring these companies into compliance with the law.”

Clear message

She added: “This week’s prosecution, along with our regular action days in the area, should act as a strong deterrent and send a clear message to would-be offenders of the stern penalties that waste crime can lead to.”

When contacted by letsrecycle.com, Appiahdeep Company Ltd could not be reached for comment.


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