Consultant fined over false wetland report
Johannesburg - An environmental consultant and his firm have been fined for falsely claiming there was no wetland on the site where the Pan-African Parliament was to be built, the department of environmental affairs said on Thursday.
Spokesperson Albi Modise said Stefan Frylinck and his firm Mpofu Consulting CC were found guilty by the Pretoria Regional Court of providing incorrect and misleading information which led to the development of a construction site on a wetland.
Modise said Frylinck was fined R80 000 or two years' imprisonment and the company was fined R80 000. Half of each fine was suspended for five years on condition they not contravene environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations again.
He said the department relied on Frylinck's objective, professional and honest opinion to decide that construction of the PAP would proceed at the proposed location.
However, once construction started, provincial and local government raised concerns that the PAP was being built on a wetland.
"The department then instituted enforcement action which resulted, firstly, in a panel of specialists being employed by the department of public works to confirm the existence of a wetland on the site and secondly, in the cessation of construction activities," said Modise.
The Green Scorpions then initiated a criminal investigation against Frylinck and his firm on charges of fraud and another for contravening EIA regulations.
They were acquitted on the fraud charge, he said.