Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Engineer Mohammad Ismail, pictured, and executive Ramesh Shah were identified by the RCMP in a bribery scandal. (CBC)
Engineer Mohammad Ismail, pictured, and executive Ramesh Shah were identified by the RCMP in a bribery scandal. (CBC)

SNC division created web of illicit payments, documents show Add to ...

In a telephone interview, Mr. Tete denied receiving a payment from SNC or Yaroson. The Globe e-mailed him the spreadsheet and the note about him being paid, but he declined to address it in his written response.

In the case of a 2010 Ugandan road project financed by the African Development Bank, an internal spreadsheet shows how the company attributed an additional cost of exactly 7.5 per cent for each of its four engineers, as well as its Ugandan staff – a line item titled “PCC for the project.”

But not every suspicious payment from the division ended up in the hands or bank account of a government official. In an interview, Verona Parkinson, the managing director of a consulting company in Mozambique called AGEMA, described how the company had partnered with SNC to help it with a road project funded by the African Development Bank. On one of Mr. Shah’s visits to Mozambique in 2011, he asked Ms. Parkinson to prepare two invoices for SNC, totalling more than US $50,000, for a “geophysical survey,” she said.

Ms. Parkinson acknowledged that her company had never completed such a survey, but she said Mr. Shah told her a different subcontractor performed the survey and he paid for it out of his own personal funds. She said he told her he needed invoices in order to be paid back. “I was doing him a favour,” she said.

Ms. Parkinson drafted the invoices and directed SNC to send the money in two chunks: one transfer to a bank account in the name of her daughter, an actress in Los Angeles, and the other transfer to an account in the name of her ex-husband in Houston. After receiving the money, her daughter and ex-husband wired the funds to Mr. Shah’s personal bank account, she said. She supplied to The Globe and CBC a wire transfer form that showed her daughter signed a request for the funds to be sent to a bank account in Mr. Shah’s name at a branch of the ICICI bank in Mississauga.

She said Mr. Shah never explained why he had to use his own funds to pay for a geophysical survey, nor why the subcontractor who performed the work could not issue him an invoice. “There were many things that happened that weren’t the normal conventional ways of doing business,” she said.

The former senior vice-president who oversaw the division, Kevin Wallace, declined to be interviewed for this article, citing the ongoing criminal case against Mr. Shah and Mr. Ismail. Mr. Wallace was not included in any of the email exchanges obtained by the media outlets, but his signature was on the cheque labelled “consultancy costs” that was sent to Mr. Reddy before he paid the Nigerian official. Mr. Wallace left the company in December, and is suing for wrongful dismissal. The RCMP has not charged him with any crime. Patrick Lamarre, the executive vice-president who oversaw Mr. Wallace, left the company for personal reasons. In a statement he said: “Based on the current accusations of wrongdoing of some ex-employees working in a small sub business unit ultimately reporting to me, I am outraged that they were engaged in such operations. I find it unacceptable and if I had known this, it would have never been tolerated.”

With reports from freelance journalist Yinka Ibukun in Lagos

Report Typo/Error
Single page

Follow on Twitter: @McarthurGreg


Next story




Most popular videos »

More from The Globe and Mail

Most popular