The secretive role of SNC-Lavalin in the Site C dam

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Site C dam costs likely over $10 billion, completion date in doubt. Photo by Bob Fedderly.

The embattled company is reaping millions in public money from no-bid contracts for British Columbia’s third hydro dam on the Peace River — a project that is already billions of dollars over budget

SNC-Lavalin has received approximately $120 million in direct award Site C dam contracts, obscuring the embattled engineering firm’s role in building the largest publicly funded infrastructure project in B.C.’s history.

For one contract, SNC-Lavalin provided BC Hydro with a “shadow estimate” — number-crunching to confirm BC Hydro’s figure — for its forecasted $8.335 billion price tag for the dam, The Narwhal found after reviewing Site C documents.

The estimate proved to be wildly wrong, missing the mark by $2 billion.

But that hasn’t stopped SNC-Lavalin — which has been banned from World Bank infrastructure contracts for 10 years following allegations of bribery schemes in Bangladesh — from reaping years of no-bid work on the Site C dam for engineering design services.

Direct award contracts allow BC Hydro and other public bodies to decide which companies or consultants get contracts, instead of going through a more transparent and competitive tender process.

On Wednesday, a Quebec judge ruled that SNC-Lavalin must stand trial on charges of fraud and corruption for allegedly paying $47.7 million in bribes to public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011. The RCMP has also charged SNC-Lavalin, its construction division and a subsidiary with one charge each of fraud and corruption for allegedly swindling almost $130 million from various Libyan organizations.

SNC-Lavalin also grossly underestimated cost of Muskrat Falls dam

SNC-Lavalin also played a major role in the cost estimate for the hugely over-budget Muskrat Falls dam on the lower Churchill River in Labrador, now the subject of a two-year inquiry to determine why the project proceeded. MORE

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When all else fails, blame women for the SNC-Lavalin scandal…

When all else fails, blame women for the SNC-Lavalin scandal…

In a recent op-edOttawa Citizen columnist Andrew Cohen blames the fallout from the SNC-Lavalin (SNC-L) affair on two women: Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott. According to Cohen, their impulsiveness, disloyalty, and short-sightedness “have put the achievements of the Trudeau government at real risk.”

By tarnishing the Liberal brand, these women have ruined everything.

While searching in earnest for scapegoats, Cohen forgot to mention the real villains in this soap opera.

SNC-L has never really warmed up to the “sunny ways” approach. The company has been debarred for 10 years by the World Bank, forbidden to bid on global projects as a result of high-level corruption in Bangladesh in 2009-2010.

Moreover, SNC-L faces charges of fraud and corruption in connection with nearly $48 million in payments made to Libyan government officials between 2001-2011. This does not include the $1.95 million spent on booze, nude dancers, porn stars and sex workers to spoil Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s son, Saadi, when he was invited to Canada in 2008 by SNC-L.  MORE