10/03/2012 05:02 EDT | Updated 12/02/2012 05:12 EST

3 City Staff Suspended After Corruption Inquiry Revelation


Three City of Montreal employees have been suspended with pay following explosive testimony about municipal corruption at the Charbonneau commission.

The city said the office of its comptroller general is investigating the three workers, two of whom had oversight on construction projects.

The employees — Yves Themens, Michel Paquette et François Thériault — were all named by former construction executive Lino Zambito in his testimony on Monday at the Charbonneau commission.

All three work for the infrastructure department.

Zambito said Themens furnished him with a secret list of companies that were bidding on projects that his Infrabec Construction was also interested in bidding for. Engineers Paquette and Thériault authorized "extras" that inflated the cost of certain projects, Zambito said.

The city said it met with all three employees individually to give them a chance to explain their version of events.

Retired engineers investigated

In a separate announcement Tuesday, Quebec's Order of Engineers said it is investigating two other former city engineers who Zambito has alleged got kickbacks while they were working on construction files.

The body will look into Gilles Surprenant, who once oversaw construction plans and specifications for Montreal, and Luc Leclerc.

Both engineers vacationed with Zambito in Mexico in 2002. Zambito told Radio-Canada that he paid for Leclerc's trip, but Leclerc said he thinks he covered his flight and accommodation, though he allowed that he doesn't remember exactly.

The Charbonneau commission is looking into allegations of collusion and corruption in the awarding of public construction contracts, as well as the involvement of organized crime and ties to political parties.

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