Home Page - Finding Rare Birds Around the World [Logo by Michael O'Clery] Americas | Asia | Australasia & Pacific | Africa & Middle East | Optics | Books

Site Map








Costa Rica



Trip Advice

Books World

Books Americas

Books Asia

Books Aus/NZ

Books Africa

Books Europe & Middle East


Yahoo! Groups & Mailing Lists




Proposed Halliburton Company Dam in
Bui National Park, Ghana -
Biologist Banned from Park

Update 18 September 2002: Acres International, the Canadian company hired to write the environmental impact assessment on the Bui Dam, has been convicted of paying bribes of more than $260,000 to a Lesotho government official to win an $8 Million World Bank-funded dam project to send Lesotho highlands water to Johannesburg. [See The Lesotho Highlands Water Project: Massive Dams for Massive Disasters. (pdf)]

Update 8 October 2001: Bui Dam Dead? (IRN)

Despite the environmental disaster wrought by the World Bank's Akosombo Dam in Ghana (used for below cost power to process bauxite mined in Jamaica) and its failure to live up to power generating expectations, international aid donors are preparing to finance the building of another massive dam on the Black Volta River by a consortium led by a subsidiary of U.S. Vice President Richard "Dick" Cheney's scandal-plagued company, Halliburton. The dam would flood much of Bui National Park, eliminating an important remaining area of savanna woodland in northern Ghana and the Park's hippo population. Daniel Bennett, a British biologist, has led field expeditions to Bui National Park, studying hippos and other wildlife. He returned to Ghana in March 2001 for final studies on the hippos before their feeding habitat would be flooded, in the hope of devising a plan to assist the animals once displaced. However, Ghanaian officials were not happy to have someone knowledgeable about natural history around to refute their lies (i.e., that the hippos could be trapped and relocated), so when Bennett arrived in Ghana to continue his field work, he was denied permission to enter the Park.

The Bui Dam is an even greater environmental disaster than drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, yet the international environmental groups have failed to take any action against it. Here is what I have been able to find on the web:

"Energy flows as Volta lake fills." By William Wallis, Financial Times Survey.

"There are also other more controversial projects afoot. The Volta River Authority signed a memorandum of understanding this month with a construction consortium led by British company Brown and Root [subsidiary or division of Halliburton Company (US)], for a second 400MW hydro-electric dam at Bui, up the Black Volta river from Akosombo.

"Officially, the project's cost is estimated at $450m. But diplomats and donors [who are they?] believe the true price will be higher. They are also concerned about the chosen location, in a national park, the possibility of floods spilling over borders to the Ivory Coast, and the practicalities of a hydro-electric dam on a river that is said to be highly seasonal."

Ghana's Proposed Bui Dam to Cause Havoc: 150 Hippos and National Park in Danger. By Mike Anane. (

The dam is to be built by a consortium led by one of the Brown & Root subsidiaries or divisions of the Halliburton Company, a politically-connected government contractor based in Texas. Before he became Vice President, Richard Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton, where he used his political connections to secure massive corporate welfare for the company. A securities action has been commenced against Halliburton for financial fraud and the SEC is investigating Halliburton's financial shenanigans during the Dick Cheney era, when its auditing firm was the Houston branch of Arthur Andersen, which faces a criminal charge of obstructing justice and shredding documents at Enron. (Cheney's income in 2000 reportedly was $36 Million -- not bad for a former backbench congressman.) "Cheney led Halliburton to feast at federal trough", by Knut Royce & Nathaniel Heller.

Prior to its acquisition by Halliburton, Brown & Root was a politically-connected Texas company that virtually owned Lyndon Johnson from his days as a crooked local politician. Its investment in Johnson yielded windfall returns as Johnson moved to national prominence, eventually becoming President when JFK was assassinated (in Texas). Whether Johnson's primary motivation for escalating and maintaining the Vietnam War was to benefit Brown & Root is impossible to determine, but Brown & Root was a leading war profiteer. See "The Candidate from Brown & Root", by Robert Bryce. Austin Chronicle, 28 August 2000. Halliburton / Brown & Root is profiting "big time" (to quote Dick Cheney) from the Bush II Administration's wars around the world: "Soldiers of Fortune" by Pratap Chatterjee, San Francisco Bay Guardian, 1 May 2002; "In Tough Times, a Company Finds Profits in Terror Wars" by Jeff Gerth & Don Van Natta, Jr., NY Times, 13 July 2002.

Other members of the dam-building consortium include Hyundai Engineering & Construction (Korea), Alstom (Sweden), and Grupo Dragados (Spain).

Who is paying for the dam and related bribes to the Ghanaian ruling elite? That question is unanswered by the web pages I have found, but it undoubtedly is the taxpayers of the United States and Europe (involuntarily), through international development banks, United Nations agencies and international aid entities. This is really just another corporate welfare scam, with the US and European funds laundered through international agencies on their way to Halliburton and its junior partners.

"Hippos in the front line." By Isabella Gyau. WWF Global Network, February 2000.

Of 440 km2 to be flooded, 383 km2 will be in Bui National Park. "Significantly, the World Bank -- which is said to have supported construction of the Akosombo dam, is not involved in the Bui project."

Mampam Conservation

The Black Volta Project

Introduction to the Black Volta Project Report

Bui Hippo Project 2001 Final Report by Daniel Bennett

Hippos of the Black Volta River

Daniel Bennett Banned From Bui National Park

Bennett returned to Ghana to continue his research in March 2001, but he was banned by the Ghana Wildlife Division from even entering the Park as a tourist because he has discovered that the traditional feeding areas of the Park's population of hippos will be destroyed during the early flooding stages of the dam. Bennett reports that local conservation organizations have remained entirely silent thus far.

"British researcher on Bui Dam thrown out." By Mike Anane, The Independent (Accra), 27 March 2001. Quoting an unidentified local critic: "The decision by the department [Ghana Wildlife Division] is therefore only to prevent him [Bennett] from unearthing more truth which will obviously be different from what a Canadian firm [Acres International -- experts in bribery] contracted by the dam developers will present to the country as an Environmental Impact Assessment."

"British scientist banned from Ghana dam site." Wildnet Africa News, 24 April 2001. Quoting Daniel Bennett: "[Bui National Park is] not an easy place to work, but it's teeming with wildlife and we have only scratched the surface. If the only other investigations that are made before the place is destroyed are by the people under contract to the dam construction company it would be a terrible tragedy."

What's hidden behind the Bui Dam Project? World Rainforest Movement Bulletin No. 46, May 2001.

U.S. Energy Information Administration Website: Ghana, June 2000

"In recent years, serious reductions in rainfall have resulted in water shortages and power crises in Ghana. [The obvious consequence of felling nearly all the forests - also financed by US and European taxpayers through the World Bank et al.] The Ghanaian government aims to reduce the country's dependence on hydropower through the installation of 400 MW of replacement power from both diesel and gas turbine generators.

*  *  *

"The government is negotiating with a consortium led by Brown and Root from Britain on a $660-million, hydroelectric project located at Bui on the Black Volta. The Bui project would have a generation capacity of 400 MW [presumably under theoretically ideal rainfall conditions]. In addition to increasing the domestic electricity supply, power generated from Bui could be exported to Burkina Faso, Mali and Côte d'Ivoire."

Corporate Profiles compiled by George Draffan:



"VALCO is a joint aluminum smelting operation formed between Kaiser and Reynolds Metals, powered by the Akosombo dam on the Volta River in Ghana. Financed by the World Bank, which took the lead in the project in the 1950s and 1960s. VALCO receives energy below-cost. VALCO uses Jamaican bauxite smelted in Louisiana. The area inundated by the dam covers five percent of the country, and displaced 80,000 people (one percent of the population of Ghana) when the reservoir was filled in the 1960s. Seventy thousand of the 100,000 people who have contracted onchocerciasis (river blindness) have been blinded; 80,000 people have been permanently disabled by the parasite schistosomiasis (Hancock, pp. 140-141; and Earth Island Institute's International Dams Newsletter, v.2, n.1, 1987).

"VALCO (Volta Aluminum Company Ltd.) is owned 78 percent by Maxxam [CEO - the notorious swindler and ancient redwood logger Charles Hurwitz], 10 percent by Reynolds [since acquired by Alcoa], and 12 percent by private interests; 80,000 people were relocated from 740 villages; the dam flooded 8,500 square kilometers; Ghana gave Valco low electric rates and numerous tax breaks; (Yao Graham, Drought Dims Ghana's Hydroelectric Power, World Rivers Review, Nov. 1995, p. 6-7; contact African Agenda, PO Box 94154, Yeoville 2198, Johannesburg, South Africa,"

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation is a U.S. government agency that has subsidized destructive projects all over the world for the benefit of U.S. corporations, including Enron's gas pipeline from Bolivia to Brazil. From their "OPIC in Ghana, March 1999" webpage on what they have done in Ghana: "OPIC also insured the Volta Aluminum Company, Africa's largest aluminum smelter developed to use power generated by the Akosombo Dam."

Acres International is the Canadian company hired by the Volta River Authority to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment of the dam. Nothing on their website suggests that they have appropriate expertise to evaluate the environmental impact of anything, but they do have an existing, lucrative financial relationship with the Volta River Authority -- refitting the Akosombo Generating Station -- a blatant conflict of interest. (Acres International convicted of bribery in Lesotho. 18 September 2002.)

Ghana's Corruption Perception Index is 3.5 -- not bad for West Africa -- a tie with Argentina, Bulgaria, Senegal and the Slovak Republic. The world range in 1999 was between 1.2 (most corrupt = Nigeria) and 10 (least corrupt = Finland). Transparency International. (Corporations, banks and aid donors that facilitate third-world corruption, like a prostitute's johns, avoid any stigma.)

Ghana has an annual population growth rate of 2.87% and an average of 5.7 births per woman -- a typical African overpopulation crisis. Rather than building more dams and in the process destroying what little remains of wild habitats in Ghana, international donors should be directing all their resources at halting population growth, regardless of the views of the religious fundamentalists who currently control the U.S. government and the dogmatic Marxists found in many international NGOs.

Green Consciousness Movement ecotour website: 14-day safari tour, $1,200: "A trip to the Bui National Park (which is noted for its hippopotamus population), will conclude this spectacular touring package."

International Rivers Network - reports on the Bui Dam

"Moreover, as a result of the obvious irreparable adverse impact on local people and the environment, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank have shunned the project."

International Rivers Network - The World Bank's Legacy: $75 billion has funded misery and destruction around the world.

"Number of large dams funded: 538"

"Number of internal reviews conducted by World Bank to analyze actual performance of its large dams: 0"

Ghana's must famous politician, Kofi Annan, the U.N.'s affirmative action secretary-general, is, not surprisingly, stupid and corrupt. Like a typical African dictator, he exploded viciously at James Bone, the Times of London reporter who asked him an embarrassing question, still unanswered, about a missing Mercedes jeep that Annan's son imported into Ghana using his father's name and diplomatic discount and tax exemption. The question about the missing car is part of the wider probe into Annan's role in the U.N.'s Oil for Food scandal, which Annan and his flunkies have worked diligently to cover up. See "Kofi Annan takes on The Times." Timesonline, 23 December 2005; "An 'Overgrown Schoolboy' Asks: Where is the Car?" by James Bone. Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2005. "Abdoulie Janneh, the U.N. official who arranged the tax exemption in Ghana was recently promoted to U.N. under-secretary-general, in charge of the Economic Commission for Africa."

I think it is important to publicize facts and to name names. The individuals in international aid agencies and banks who support and approve destructive projects should be identified and memorialized forever on the Internet. Now they largely escape any blame for their actions. One notable exception was Robert Skillings, the World Bank official who pushed through the disastrous Polonoroeste loan that led to the deforestation of much of Rondônia, Brazil in the 1980s, over the objections of the bank's environmental and anthropological specialists. Skillings was outed by Adrian Cowell in The Decade of Destruction: The crusade to save the Amazon rain forest. (1990). The World Bank (now the Wolfowitz Bank) banned their expert on Amazonian ecology from Rondônia for four years in retaliation for submitting a truthful report accurately predicting the dire consequences of the loan.

WorldTwitch welcomes submissions from whistleblowers and naturally will protect the confidentiality of sources.

Copyright © 1992-2012 John Wall