Montreal firms raided by anti-corruption squad handed contracts
City of Laval continues to award contracts ahead of anti-corruption bill's passage
The City of Laval, north of Montreal, has been awarding public works contracts to companies investigated by Quebec's anti-corruption squad and also one that was named at the province's corruption inquiry.
CBC's French-language service, Radio-Canada, has learned that 13 contracts — worth a total of $28.3 million — were handed out to the companies.
CJRB Construction, a company that was not raided by the anti-corruption squad (UPAC), obtained three contracts worth a total of $7.3 million. The company's name was brought up at the province's corruption inquiry.
Onetime construction boss Lino Zambito, told the Charbonneau commission he was once asked to pass off work to CJRB as a sub-contractor.
Poly Excavation and J. Dufresne Asphalte have also recently earned contracts from Laval estimated at about $7 million in total.
Radio-Canada's investigation in the awarding of public contracts shows that some of the companies that bid on contracts were investigated by UPAC.
In October, Montreal suspended all non-urgent public works contracts while it waited for the provincial government to pass an anti-corruption bill.
Laval decided to keep handing out contracts. It said some of these contracts were too important to wait for pending legislation, but added it would follow the new law as soon as it is adopted.
Emilio Migliozzi, member of the opposition party Mouvement lavallois, said "there are no accusations. It's business as usual. It's unfortunate. We should be looking at these people more attentively."
Robert Bordeleau, leader of second opposition party, Parti au service du citoyen (Party at the Citizen's Service), said "I think the city should have stayed a little shy, a little like Montreal."
The companies involved did not return CBC's calls.
The Parti Québécois tabled Bill 1 on Thursday. The bill gives the province's securities and exchange commission, along with UPAC, the dual role of screening any and all companies bidding for a government tender.