The World Bank announced on Wednesday it had placed a 10-year ban on Montreal-based construction company SNC-Lavalin, preventing the embattled firm seeking contracts after finding evidence of “misconduct” in a Cambodian rural electrification project.
According to statements by the World Bank and SNC, the ban was part of an agreement reached between the two - the details of which are confidential - after evidence surfaced of a “conspiracy to pay bribes and misrepresentat-ions when bidding for World Bank-financed contracts”, one of which was presumably SNC’s 2009 contract to build Electricité du Cambodge’s national control centre and energy management system.
The company was also acc-used of bribery in a Bangladeshi bridge project.
SNC spokeswoman Leslie Quinton said via email the matter stemmed from “all-egations of a bribe supposedly paid on a relatively small project we were awarded in Cambodia in 2010”.
“A condition of the settlement is not to discuss its terms. However, I may tell you the decision to settle is an acknowledgement of our determination . . . to set standards for ethics in business conduct and for good governance that are beyond reproach.
“The settlement is based on an agreement not to contest allegations of misconduct [in] the projects mentioned.”
World Bank Cambodia officials were in Washington yesterday and did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.
SNC is embroiled in a scandal relating to allegations of improper payments made in North African countries, including Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, and has announced several shake-ups in its management in recent weeks.
Officials at Electricité du Cambodge, when reached yesterday, said they were not familiar with the project.