A Canadian citizen with business ties in Bangladesh was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the bribery probe of Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin’s failed bid for a $3-billion bridge project in Bangladesh.
Zulfiquar Ali Bhuiyan, a Canadian and Bangladeshi citizen, was charged by the RCMP under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act in September. He voluntarily travelled from Bangladesh to face the charge in Canada and has since been released on bail.
The arrest stemmed from the RCMP’s international investigation into the awarding of a contract for the construction of the Padma Bridge in Bangladesh.
"In some countries, bribes are still accepted as a necessary part of doing business,” said Gilles Michaud, assistant commissioner and commanding officer of the RCMP National Division.
“However, bribery raises serious moral and political concerns, undermines good governance and sustainable economic development, and distorts the conditions of international competition."
The RCMP's National Division investigates cases that “pose a threat to the political, economic and social integrity of Canada's national interests, including international corruption," according to Michaud.
The RCMP will not comment further about the continuing investigation.
To date, the RCMP have laid bribery charges against five people, including Bhuiyan.
One of them is Kevin Wallace, former senior vice-president of SNC-Lavalin International Inc., a division based in Oakville, Ont., that has been disbanded. Also charged is Abul Hasan Chowdhury, a prominent lobbyist in Bangladesh
Two lower-level SNC-Lavalin employees, Mohammad Ismail and Ramesh Shah, are already awaiting trial in Toronto facing similar allegations that they conspired to pay bribes to help SNC-Lavalin win a supervising contract worth $50 million for the Padma Bridge megaproject.
Last spring, a joint investigation by CBC News and the Globe and Mail revealed that for years, Wallace’s division, SLII, used a secret internal accounting code for bribes on project across African and Asia.