Monday, June 10, 2019

S. African High Court told Swaziland development projects worth billions were ‘a con’

Frans Whelpton, a former law professor in South Africa, who worked closely with the Swaziland / eSwatini government on projects said to be worth billions of emalangeni that never came to anything is being accused of being a conman in a high court action.

Whelpton, once of the University of South Africa, touted projects in Swaziland, including the construction of a coal-fired power station, a social upliftment project, and creation of a free trade zone.

The Sunday Times newspaper in Johannesburg reported (9 June 2019) that a Pretoria doctor Francois Olivier is suing Whelpton in the Pretoria High Court for R6m (US$400,000), saying the former professor’s ‘grand promises were no more than a con’.

It added, ‘He says his case is just the tip of the iceberg and that over the years Whelpton has pocketed about R100m from up to 40 people.’

Whelpton denied the claim and in turn issued a defamation action against Olivier, demanding R1m in damages.

Whelpton was widely known in Swaziland for many years and was said to be close to King Mswati III, who rules the kingdom as an absolute monarch.

The Sunday Times reported that Olivier said in his court papers, there were a series of ‘fraudulent misrepresentations’ by Whelpton, which included that he had acquired rights to the:

The Sunday Times reported, ‘[O]ne of Whelpton’s central claims - that the UN is providing millions of dollars for his work on recording customary law in eSwatini - could not be confirmed this week. A spokesperson for the UN in SA, Zeenat Abdool, told the Sunday Times none of the UN agencies operating in SA had any record of dealing with Whelpton.’

The newspaper added, ‘Seven years ago, in a separate case, a Pretoria court ordered Whelpton to pay R10m each to two doctors, Reynhardt van Rooyen and Johannes Kok, after an alleged eSwatini health-care project in which Whelpton promised them a leading role failed to materialise.’

See also

Mystery man in King’s jet saga found

$5bn Swazi power plant was a con

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