Last update: 08-Dec-2013 4:55 am
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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More SNC-Lavalin executives charged
As the Government gets set to answer questions in Parliament about SNC-Lavalin’s involvement in the Penal hospital and rehabilitation centre contract, Canadian authorities announced yesterday that more executives of the troubled Canadian conglomerate have been charged. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported yesterday that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had charged Kevin Wallace, a former senior vice-president of Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin International Inc (SLII), which has recently been disbanded. Wallace is accused of being part of a bribery scheme related to a $2.9 billion development project in Bangladesh.
Also charged are Zulfiquar Ali Bhuiyan, a Canadian citizen with business ties in Bangladesh, and Abul Hasan Chowdhury, a prominent lobbyist in Bangladesh. The RCMP is now examining SNC’s Lavalin’s involvement with other foreign nationals, following an international bribery scandal. Last year, police charged two lower-level SNC-Lavalin employees, Mohammad Ismail and Ramesh Shah, with conspiring to pay bribes to help SNC-Lavalin win a supervising contract worth Can$50 million for the Padma Bridge mega project. Both are already awaiting trial in Toronto.
The latest round of corruption allegations has tarnished Canada’s international reputation, as it is now ranked top on the World Bank’s corruption list. In a report, the World Bank said out of the more than 250 companies blacklisted from bidding on its global projects under its fraud and corruption policy, 117 are from Canada. SNC-Lavalin and its affiliates represent 115 of those entries.
Last April, SNC Lavalin and 100 of its affiliates were banned from bidding on contracts funded by the World Bank.
Following the international scandal, Diego Martin North/East MP Colm Imbert filed a motion in Parliament calling on the Government to terminate all existing contracts with SNC-Lavalin.
In his motion, Imbert said the Urban Development Corporation (Udecott), on the recommendation of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), signed a contract in February 2013 with SNC-Lavalin to design the $1 billion Penal hospital. Saying “SNC-Lavalin is presently embroiled in allegations and findings of irregular payments to public officials, misconduct, corruption and bribery in projects in a number of developing countries,” Imbert has called on the Government to “cease and desist from entering into any future contractual relationships with SNC-Lavalin or any of its affiliates.” He also recommended that the “procurement process for the project as well as future projects should be subject to open and transparent competitive tendering.” Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal has said the Government will review its relationship with SNC Lavalin once the CCC completes its due diligence review, which is expected to be submitted later this month.
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