Surete du Quebec makes arrests in construction probe

So how long did that take? Less than a week since project Hammer was announced? It’s almost like the SQ knew all along where the criminals were!

Updated: Tue Nov. 03 2009 11:38:34 AM

The Surete du Quebec arrested 10 people Tuesday during its investigation into corruption in the construction industry.

Officers plan to make a total of 14 arrests throughout the Montreal region as part of Project Diligence.

The arrests are related to alleged crimes related to masonry work, says SQ spokesman Ronald MacInnis. But the SQ says the arrests are not part of another probe into inflated construction contracts with alleged connections to the political class.

The SQ plans to reveal more details at its Montreal headquarters on Tuesday afternoon.

The recent municipal election camapign was at times overshadowed by allegations of organized-crime infiltration of the construction industry.

The allegations triggered a provincial-police investigation called Project Hammer.

Media reports have said 14 Montreal-area firms are involved in a price-fixing scheme.

A retired Quebec bureaucrat-turned-whistleblower told Radio-Canada that outside firms would be shut out while participating companies would alternately set the bid price on contracts and the others would then submit higher bids.

The result was that the cost of construction projects was inflated by up to 35 per cent, said the public broadcaster.


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