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Scandals like SNC-Lavalin happen by letting unqualified politicians ‘champion’ businesses

4 0 251
14.02.2019

At the heart of the SNC-Lavalin affair is the allegation the Montreal firm paid bribes to get contracts in Moammar Gadhafi’s Libya. Is anyone out there shocked that doing business with Moammar Gadhafi involved paying bribes? I’m a career academic with little experience of the real world, but I can imagine there are lots of places where, in addition to what’s in the actual contract, informal considerations establishing “good will” between contracting parties are the real key to a deal’s getting done. Even in my hometown of Montreal, informal payments of $22.5 million were made to the director overseeing bids for a $2-billion new superhospital by executives of, let’s see, it was SNC-Lavalin, wasn’t it?

Such goings-on in our own transparent democracy quite rightly inflamed the taxpayers whose $2 billion it was. In other parts of the world — ones with different histories, cultures and customs in such matters — well, if you don’t pay the bribe, you don’t get the contract. That’s bad for you but, you might also convince yourself — using logic similar to that our governments have applied over the years to business dealings with dictatorships such as Cuba and China — that by withholding the bribe and thus depriving them of the pleasure of........

© Financial Post