By Tamsin McMahon and Chris Sorensen - Friday, December 7, 2012 - 0 Comments
How things went terribly wrong under the watch of one of the most distinguished boards in Canada
Less than a week before its former CEO, Pierre Duhaime, was arrested by Quebec police investigators, SNC-Lavalin announced it had received an award for excellence in corporate governance from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants—the seventh time it won the award in the past decade.
As one of the world’s largest engineering firms, with 32,000 employees and projects ranging from airports to water-treatment plants in more than 100 countries, SNC-Lavalin has cultivated a board of directors that could serve as a who’s who of Canadian business. It includes: EnCana Corp. founding CEO Gwyn Morgan, former York University president Lorna Marsden, Canadian National Railway Co. CEO Claude Mongeau, and, until recently, Conservative Senator Hugh Segal. Among them are three recipients of the Order of Canada. Many of the directors have served on SNC-Lavalin’s board for years.
Yet despite the board’s impeccable credentials, on its watch, senior executives at the firm are now alleged to have misappropriated millions to influence the awarding of big contracts both at home and abroad, and then covered their tracks by earmarking the payments for unrelated projects. The Quebec police have charged Duhaime—who resigned in March—with fraud, reportedly in connection with a contract to build and design a new $1.3-billion “super hospital” in Montreal. Authorities are also looking to charge Riadh Ben Aissa, who led SNC-Lavalin’s construction business from the company’s office in Tunisia. Ben Aissa has been indicted in Switzerland as part of an investigation into a money- laundering scheme, which reportedly involved $139 million worth of payments by SNC-Lavalin. Both he and a company vice-president and financial controller, Stéphane Roy, were fired by SNC-Lavalin earlier this year. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Friday, March 30, 2012 at 9:45 PM - 0 Comments
How to begin? Let’s use boldface.
“By establishing the Public Appointments Commission, the Government is implementing a key component of its overall plan to strengthen accountability in government as outlined in the Federal Accountability Act,” Stephen Harper said in a 2006 news release. “The Commission will provide the necessary oversight to ensure that the selection of individuals is based on merit and is done in an open and transparent way.”
The Prime Minister’s nominee to run the appointments commission was Gwyn Morgan, who had just stepped down as chairman of Encana. Setting up this commission was a big deal. Naming Morgan was a big deal. But it ended very badly indeed when Peggy Nash, an NDP member on the committee charged with approving the nomination, led the opposition in rejecting it over statements Morgan had made about immigration.
Harper scrapped the whole notion of a commission. But not forever.
“So what that tells (us) is we won’t be able to clean up the process in this minority Parliament. We’ll obviously need a majority government to do that in the future. That’s obviously what we’ll be taking to the people of Canada at the appropriate time.” Continue…