The Harper government has awarded a $400 million contract to SNC-Lavalin PAE Inc. just months after the group’s parent company was banned from bidding on Canadian aid projects and World Bank contracts for numerous bribery and corruption scandals (Lee Whittington, “SNC-Lavalin subsidiary wins government contract despite World Bank ban,” Toronto Star, 13 August 2013).
Shortly after the ban was announced in April, officials with the Canadian International Development Agency said any corporations facing sanctions from development organizations because of alleged bribery or corruption could not bid on Ottawa’s aid contracts.
But last week the federal public works department awarded a valued defence contract to SNC-Lavalin PAE to provide communications, equipment, food, water supply and other military logistics for Canadian troops operating overseas. The five-year Canadian Forces Contractor Augmentation Program (CANCAP) contract can be extended to 10 years.
In an email to the Toronto Star, a spokesperson from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development indicated that sanctioned firms barred for “corrupt or fraudulent practices, will be ineligible to bid on projects funded by DFATD,” and that all bidders must prove they are not under sanctions imposed by the government.
However, Public Works claims the ban does not apply to the department, which only restricts individuals and companies prosecuted under its own “integrity provisions.”
While Public Works describes the awarding of the contract as the result of a “fair, open, and transparent” process, NDP MP Mathieu Ravignat has challenged the double standard, insisting Public Work’s method of giving and monitoring contracts is “clearly flawed.”
Photo Credit: DND