SNC-Lavalin copied competitor's designs in making superhospital bid
Published Thursday, May 22, 2014 2:27PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 22, 2014 2:36PM EDT
Engineers from SNC-Lavalin said they were given access to their competitor's proprietary information in the bidding process for the MUHC superhospital.
Charles Chebl, a VP with the engineering firm, and his subordinate Yves Gauthier, testified under oath that they not only had access to the plans submitted by their competition -- they copied them in their own bid for the superhospital project.
Chebl said he was given the plans by his superiors, Riadh Ben Aissa and Pierre Duhaime, but did not say how the pair had acquired the plans prepared by the Spanish-based consortium OHL-PCUSM that was SNC-Lavalin's main competition for the project.
Gauthier and Chebl both said that Ben Aissa and Duhaime pressured them to copy the plans, specifically the D-shaped design PCUSM had come up with to arrange care units in the hospital.
In the normal course of events bids are sealed and only viewed by the group making the decision. They are never given to competitors.
Gauthier told the commission he did not like being asked to copy another company's work, and while he reluctantly did so, he also informed police, calling UPAC when he heard about other allegations of fraud involving the superhospital project.
Chebl told the commission he was not happy being ordered to show the plans to the engineers working on SNC-Lavalin's bid, but did so anyway.
"Things were going very fast back then. My boss had an unusual personality," said Chebl.
However he justified his actions, saying simply "I was following orders."
SNC-Lavalin somehow acquired access to its rival's plans for the superhospital.