More trouble for corruption-tainted Canadian company

(Trinidad Express) Housing and Urban Development Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal has said the People’s Partnership Government has asked the Canadian government to submit a report on SNC-Lavalin (SL), a Canadian engineering and construction company, within two weeks time.SNC-Lavalin contractors were given the nod to build the state-of-the-art Penal Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre.
The project is being managed by special purpose company Urban Development Corporation of T&T (UDeCOTT), which falls under Moonilal’s portfolio. Yesterday an Associated Press report said Canada’s foreign minister John Baird was distancing himself from SNC-Lavalin since it is being investigated over corruption charges in Algeria. At a joint news conference with his Algerian counterpart in Algiers, Baird said: “This company does not represent all Canadian businesses, which give huge importance to ethics … It is obvious they must pay for their actions through the courts.”SNC-Lavalin is charged with awarding contracts in Algeria in exchange for bribes. Baird said Canada was determined to fight corruption, and added his country recently adopted an anti-corruption law.
Contacted yesterday on the issue, Moonilal said the People’s Partnership Government has asked the Canadian government to review its choice of SL.“We have asked the Canadian government to review their choice of SL to undertake works at the Penal Hospital. They are completing their due diligence and will be in touch with us in two weeks,” he said. In an Express report (September 15), Diego Martin North East MP Colm Imbert speaking on a motion on procurement had asked what the company, SNC-Lavalin, was doing in Trinidad. Imbert said the Canadian company was also barred by the Canadian International Development Agency, a state agency, because of its conduct in Bangladesh and Cambodia. Contacted yesterday Imbert said: “Why is our Government going ahead with them?
This (Algerian development) is even more confirmation the People’s Partnership should not be doing business with SNC-Lavalin. Just come out in the open and terminate all arrangements. The World Bank and Canadian International Development Agency have banned them. Now this Canadian minister is saying they must pay for their transgressions in the courts. It is alleged they have been found guilty of bribing politicians in developing countries. Why is the T&T Government doing business with them?” Imbert also said he will raise the matter at the first private members’ motion in October.

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