Engineer admits collecting $2.7 million for Vaillancourt
Published Tuesday, May 21, 2013 12:37PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 21, 2013 2:39PM EDT
A retired engineer who spent decades working for an engineering firm in Laval took the stand Tuesday at the Charbonneau commission.
Roger Desbois said that he was in charge of collecting kickbacks for the city administration, in a system where contractors were forced to pay 2 percent of each contract if they wanted to keep doing business with the city.
This confirms what the city's deputy manager -- Jean Roberge, who is currently on suspension -- said last week at the Inquiry.
Desbois was the vice-president of project development for Tecsult, and testified that his company was ordered to collect kickbacks for contractors doing business in Laval.
He estimated that over the years he collected $2.7 million for long-time Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt and his party.
Desbois said the collection process was documented and well-administered by Roberge's predecessor, the former deputy manager Claude Deguise, with Deguise giving Desbois a list of companies that owed money.
"On this document, Mr Deguise would indicate with an X in the right side. the righthand side, the contracts which were arranged, had been arranged. He knew which ones and would indicate that to me with the X.
So for me it was potentially contracts for which I would pay a visit to make a collection," said Desbois.
The engineer also said that it was very clear that Vaillancourt was corrupt, and that on two occasions Vaillancourt personally asked him to collect money in order to pay off both Roberge and his boss, Laval city manager Gaetan Turbide.
Desbois said that Turbide received $120,000 in hush money at Vaillancourt's request, and that he gave Roberge $20,000.
He said that Vaillancourt urged him to take a hefty percentage as well, with the mayor suggesting he keep a 10 percent cut of one payment for himself. Desbois decided to keep that money in a company safe and he spent part of it -- but he has since given $81,000 to UPAC investigators.
Over the years Desbois collected $400,000 in bribes, three-quarters of which has been seized by police.
In all 18 companies, including Tecsult, have been accused of taking part in a collusion system in Laval that ran for decades.
12 days ago police from the anti-corruption squad arrested former mayor Vaillancourt and 36 other people, including representatives of 13 of the companies named.
Stephane Giroux is reporting on the commission.