Former consulting engineering execs charged with rigging bids in Quebec

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Two former executives are facing bid-rigging charges in connection with an alleged conspiracy surrounding Quebec City infrastructure contracts, Competition Bureau Canada has announced. 

Both individuals were charged under the Criminal Code with conspiracy to rig bids, conspiracy to commit fraud, and fraud over $5,000, for incidents that allegedly occurred between September 1, 2006, and November 19, 2010.

The individuals, employed by consulting engineering firms, are accused of conspiring to divide municipal infrastructure contracts among their firms. 

“The recent charges brought before the Court of Quebec serve as a reminder that we will do everything in our power to hold accountable all those who break the law by rigging bids on public contracts,” announced Matthew Boswell, Commissioner of Competition, in a statement.

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When the Competition Bureau finds evidence of a criminal offence, it refers the matter to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC), which decides whether charges should be laid, and has authority over any resulting prosecution.

The Bureau noted that rigging bids on infrastructure contracts raises costs for municipalities and reduces available public funds to meet important public needs.

Facing charges are Patrice Mathieu, former VP of Tecsult Inc. (since acquired by AECOM Inc.), and André Côté, former VP of Roche ltée, Groupe-conseil (now Norda Stelo Inc.).

Both men gave testimony at the Charbonneau Commission inquiry, which from 2011 to 2015 examined potential corruption in the management of public construction contracts in Quebec.

In October 2023, engineering firm Teknika HBA Inc. (now Les Services EXP Inc.) was ordered to pay $200,000 for bid-rigging on municipal infrastructure contracts in Quebec. It was the last of eight firms involved in a bid-rigging scheme to agree to a corporate settlement. Overall, the firms involved in the scheme have paid more than $12.7 million in settlements.

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