New lawsuit against SNC-Lavalin focuses on Angola

18 March 2013 0 Comments

Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin is facing a new, CAN$1.24m wrongful dismissal lawsuit alleging attempted coverups of millions in payments to an agent it employed for a dam project in Angola.

Joseph Salim, vice-president and general manager of SNC-Lavalin’s hydro division before he was dismissed on 28 January, filed the lawsuit in Montreal in the week beginning 11 March.

He alleges that he was fired for drawing attention to unusual payments to a company that helped SNC secure a major dam contract in Angola.

Last year, Swiss and Canadian police raided the company’s Montreal headquarters in a probe alleging $160m in improper payments tied to projects in Libya.

This latest development follows the surprise resignation of Patrick Lamarre, executive vice-president of global power, on 18 January, and the dismissal of three employees — John Brown, Jean-Pierre Mourez and their boss Joseph Salim 10 days later.

Allegations involve the Matala dam project (Credit: kunenerak.org)

Mr Salim’s suit also follows a wrongful dismissal and defamation lawsuit against SNC-Lavalin, claiming nearly $1m, launched 13 February by another former SNC executive Stephane Roy.

Mr Roy was dismissed last February amid revelations of missing money and questions over an alleged plot to smuggle Saadi Gaddafi out of Libya.

Mr Salim’s wrongful dismissal suit alleges that his superiors at SNC-Lavalin, including Patrick Lamarre, attempted to subvert internal company controls to cover up a 10% commission to be paid to an agency in Angola, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

CBC reports that Mr Salim is claiming that he was dismissed “without just cause and in an abusive manner”, and that SNC-Lavalin leaked negative misinformation to the press.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.