Cameroon/Denmark: Danish minister drawn into Lapiro de Mbanga’s case

22 June 2010
Danish opposition parties demands investigation of financial support to co-owned Maersk company which has been accused of inhuman working conditions and co-responsibility for the imprisonment of popular singer Lapiro de Mbanga

Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Søren Pind has been asked to report to the Danish Parliament on the loans provided by the Danish Industrialisation Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) to the Danish-based global company A. P. Moller-Maersk in its acquisition of 21 percent of the shares in a controversial banana plantation in Cameroon. The political opposition finds this necessary after harsh critique of the plantations human rights record has arisen over the past months.

The Danish newspaper Information writes that the company Societé de Plantations de Mbanga (SPM) is accused of exposing its employees to dangerous pesticides and for neglecting the importance of protective equipment. At the same time SPM is accused of bearing co-responsibility for the imprisonment of the acclaimed singer Lapiro de Mbanga in Cameroon in 2008.

“These are violations of human rights which are contrary to basic principles of our foreign aid. Søren Pind has a duty to investigate and return with an answer to the public and parliament” said foreign affairs spokesman for the Social Democrats Jeppe Kofod to Information on 22 June 2010. The Minister agrees that an investigation should be made and is awaiting a response from IFU.

Social unrest
According to the article SPM which owns the plantation took part in the lawsuit against the popular singer following a major social unrest that took place in the West African country in February 2008. During the trial SPM’s lawyer accused Lapiro de Mbanga for organising the social unrest. The singer was subsequently sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay damages equivalent to three million US dollars to SPM for his alleged involvement in destroying the banana plantation during the riots.

Freemuse has supported Lapiro de Mbanga since he was jailed in 2008 and considers his conviction a political miscarriage of justice. “We request S

Information – 20 June 2010:
‘Omstridt M
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