Sydney contractor Paul Mouawad has been sentenced to a 12-month term of imprisonment that will be served in the community, after paying nearly $250,000 to dispose of asbestos contaminated soil to landfill.
An investigation conducted by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) discovered that 134 truckloads of asbestos-contaminated soil were collected from a building site in Darlington central Sydney in June and July 2016, but only one truckload was lawfully disposed of at the Elizabeth Drive Landfill at Kemps Creek.
The court heard Mouawad had supplied 29 fraudulent waste disposal dockets and a fake Ticket List Report to the construction company engaged on the building site in an attempt to show the asbestos waste was disposed of lawfully at a licensed landfill.
The EPA told the court that Mouawad’s actions concealed the true location of the asbestos waste posing “indeterminable risks to the environment and human health, now and potentially, into the future”
The governmental body submitted the offences were aggravated by Mr Mouawad’s disregard for public safety and the planned and organised nature of the crime. The investigation revealed that in the lead up to the offences, Mr Mouawad had purchased a thermal printer, which he used to create falsified waste disposal dockets.
Mouawad’s employers Aussie Earthmovers Pty Ltd were convicted and fined $450,000 on two charges of knowingly supplying false and misleading information in conjunction with Mouawad about the disposal of the waste in November 2020, following a separate EPA prosecution.
Upon Mouawad pleading guilty to two charges of knowingly supplying false and misleading information, Justice Nicola Pain directed the contractor to serve his 12-month term of imprisonment via an intensive correction order in the community. She also ordered Mouawad to perform 250 hours of community service work, not commit any offences and pay the EPA’s legal costs of $60,000.
NSW Police separately charged Mr Mouawad with defrauding the construction company by providing the false invoices. He pleaded guilty to a fraud charge in September 2018 and was sentenced to a 15-month intensive correction order following an appeal to the NSW District Court. He was also ordered to repay the construction company $225,056. The compensation has not yet been paid.
Mouawad is also being prosecuted by the EPA for three additional offences, which allege waste, including waste containing asbestos, was illegally disposed of at Arcadia in Sydney’s north-west. He has pleaded not guilty to those matters, which are still before the Court.