SNC-Lavalin to pay $1.5 million to settle corruption allegation case
By STAFF REPORTBridges Construction Law Roads
Deal reached with African Development Bank over two contracts
SNC-Lavalin has agreed to pay $1.5 million and accepted certain business conditions in order to settle an alleged business corruption case leveled by the African Development Bank over two contracts.
The agreement, announced this morning in separate statements, revolved around allegations that former employees of SNC-Lavalin International Inc. offered illicit payments to public officials to secure two contracts in two African countries.
According to the development bank, one of the contracts involved the supervision of a road and bridge construction project in Mozambique. The other involved a road upgrade in Uganda.
In addition to the cash settlement, the agreement notes the company will not be debarred, provided SNC-Lavalin meets certain undisclosed conditions for a period of two years and 10 months. This settlement follows an approach by the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department (“IACD”) of the AfDB and cooperation by SNC-Lavalin with IACD.
“This settlement agreement demonstrates SNC-Lavalin’s commitment to the highest standards of business ethics and is proof that companies can engage in a constructive dialogue and find effective means to reward remediation while allowing companies to move forward,” stated Robert G. Card, President and CEO, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. “Our cooperation with the AfDB clearly shows our efforts to become a global benchmark in ethics and compliance in our industry with a system designed to promote integrity through prevention, detection and remediation.”
According to a company statement, over the past three years, SNC-Lavalin has reinforced its Ethics and Compliance program with investments in time and money, making significant and concrete enhancements, including:
- Creating the position of Chief Compliance Officer, who reports to the Board, and hiring world-renowned leaders in compliance;
- Appointing compliance officers in all of the company’s business sectors;
- Creating a dedicated Ethics and Compliance Team;
- Further reinforcing internal controls and procedures;
- Further reinforcing its Code of Ethics and Ethics and Compliance Hotline;
- Producing a dedicated Anti-Corruption Manual;
- Offering annual compliance training to all employees, with a special focus on those working in strategic roles;
- Developing and distributing a world-class Business Partners Policy to employees;
- Using an independent third party to screen candidates for senior management positions.
All remaining details and specifics regarding the settlement agreement are to remain confidential, as stipulated by the agreement.
The company is also involved in a separate case working its way through the Canadian Courts.
The RCMP alleged in February that between 2001 and 2011 SNC-Lavalin paid nearly $47.7 million to public officials in Libya to influence government decisions. It also charged the company, its construction division and its SNC-Lavalin International subsidiary with defrauding various Libyan organizations of about $129.8 million. The company said at the time it will plead not guilty to the charges.
The company has said the RCMP charges are related to the actions of former employees who are also facing fraud charges and who SNC-Lavalin has filed a damages suit against.