Fifth engineering executive charged in Gatineau bid-rigging case

News release

June 29, 2021 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau announced today that it has laid criminal charges against a fifth person in connection with a conspiracy to rig bids for City of Gatineau infrastructure contracts.

François Paulhus is accused of participating in a bid-rigging scheme in 2003 and 2004 in which executives from several engineering firms conspired to fix their bid prices in order to divide municipal contracts among themselves.

Mr. Paulhus was a regional director at engineering firm Genivar Inc. at the time of the alleged offence. He has been charged under the Criminal Code with conspiracy to rig bids, conspiracy to commit fraud, and fraud over $5,000.

Charges were first laid against four individuals in June 2018 after a Competition Bureau investigation uncovered evidence of bid-rigging on 21 infrastructure contracts awarded by the City of Gatineau between 2004 and 2008. All four of those accused have since pleaded guilty for their respective roles in the scheme. They received conditional sentences totalling five years and 11 months, and court-ordered community service totalling 260 hours.

Quick facts

  • Rigging bids on infrastructure contracts raises costs for municipalities and amounts to a theft of taxpayers’ money.

  • Cracking down on bid-rigging is a top priority for the Competition Bureau, and it will continue to pursue all those who participate in criminal agreements with their competitors.

  • Those who believe they are involved in an illegal agreement with their competitors can come forward to seek immunity or leniency in return for their cooperation with the Bureau’s investigation through its Immunity and Leniency Programs.

  • The Bureau also has a Whistleblowing Initiative for those who believe they can provide information about a possible violation of the Competition Act. The Bureau will keep the identity of a whistleblower confidential.

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