Home News Probe into Charleroi building permit scandal

Probe into Charleroi building permit scandal

Published on 29/08/2005

29 August 2005

BRUSSELS – An investigation is under way after it was discovered that a civil servant in Charleroi was selling false building permits for cash.

The scandal, which had been running for 10 years, saw the urban planning worker seeking payments of EUR 1,250 a document a time.

So far, at least five cases of fraud have been detected, but given the time the scam was running for, investigators believe dozens or hundreds of cases more were involved.

And they have not yet ruled out that the fraud was part of a wider con involving more than the current suspect.

The fraud came to light when a civil servant in Charleroi’s urban planning department noticed a piece of missing paperwork in a file and called the architect responsible for the project.

It soon emerged that his signature was on a document he had never seen.

The fraudster had faked signatures including those of Gerard Monseux, the head of urban planning, and Charleroi’s district secretary.

Investigators believe the fraudster pretended to be both an architect and an engineer to sign off building proposals, which means a number of constructions could be faulty or even dangerous.

While some clients may have paid the civil servant for building documents without realising they were fake, it is likely that others knew they were paying backhanders.

Charleroi’s public prosecution service has confirmed it is looking into the scandal. The suspect is believed to be off work sick and out of the country.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news