A project manager with Pomerleau has been arrested and charged by Quebec’s anti-corruption unit (UPAC) for allegedly trying to sell strategic information to a competitor in the bidding process for the construction of the Turcot Interchange.
"We were informed this morning (Sept. 30) that one of our employees, who was working for Pomerleau for less than two years, was arrested regarding an investigation undertaken by the provincial anticorruption unit concerning the public call for tenders for the reconstruction of the Turcot interchange project," said Pomerleau in a statement.
"Pomerleau was astonished and extremely disappointed to learn that an employee attempted to sell Pomerleau’s confidential information regarding this project for personal gain. This employee was immediately suspended without pay and Pomerleau has officially made a complaint against him."
Eric Carbonneau was arrested by l’UPAC (Unité permanente anticorruption or Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit) on Sept. 30 for a scheme that was designed to generate a large personal gain.
UPAC chief Robert Lafreniere and Andre Boulanger of the Surete du Quebec made the announcement in a joint news conference.
UPAC claims Carbonneau was planning to disclose information to SNC-Lavalin about the methods and technical development plans contained in the Pomerleau submission for the $3.7 billion contract to rebuild the Turcot Interchange.
Pomerleau is part of a business consortium called Groupement Nouvel Échangeur Turcot, which includes the following prime contractors: Dragados Canada Inc., Groupe Aecon Québec Limitée, Pomerleau Inc., and Verreault Inc.
SNC-Lavalin is one of the prime contractors in Groupe Futur Turcot, which is composed of Astaldi Canada Inc., and Zachry Corporation Intl.
The third consortium involved in the bidding process for the Turcot Interchange is KPH Turcot, which is composed of Construction Kiewit Cie and Parsons Canada Ltée as prime contractors.
The evidence presented as part of the anti-corruption police investigation shows that the accused acted on his own, without the knowledge of his employer or the consortium.
In addition, the police investigation found the companies that are part of the three consortiums bidding for the contract to build the Turcot did nothing wrong in this case.
The collaboration of SNC-Lavalin in the investigation file has also been emphasized.
"Today’s ( Sept. 30) news proves that the checks and balances we set up to prevent violations of our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct are working," said SNC-Lavalin in a statement.
"SNC-Lavalin continues to work closely with the Sûreté du Québec and authorities to ensure that business is done ethically. This cooperation demonstrates SNC-Lavalin’s commitment to set a new standard for clean business in the engineering and construction industry."
SNC-Lavalin contacted police and co-operated with the investigation to catch Carbonneau, which was opened in September. He was arrested just before he was about to receive money.
Pomerleau has also offered its complete collaboration to UPAC. The company refused to comment further during the course of the legal inquiries.
The charges that have been authorized by the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions are fraud and secret commissions.
According to the Request for Proposal (RFP) by Infrastructure Quebec, the Turcot Interchange is at the heart of the transportation system for the greater Montréal region.
More than 300,000 vehicles use the interchange every day, which is crossed by the main CN rail tracks. It constitutes an essential link between Montréal’s Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau international airport and downtown Montréal.
The RFP noted that the project is critically important, for Québec’s economy and for the wellbeing of its citizens, that the interchange remain operational. The Design Build project involves the design and construction of the Turcot interchange and its associated structures, the De La Vérendrye, Angrignon and Montréal-Ouest interchanges, and portions of highways 15, 20 and 720.
The Turcot interchange was built in 1967 and has almost reached the end of its useful life after more than 41 years of service. The infrastructure is in poor condition and requires an ever-increasing amount of repair work.