Evidence suggests high-level corruption within the Public-Private Partnership (P3) project of the Regina Bypass Project. The project, costing taxpayers $2 billion, is now under scrutiny for potentially being the largest documented case of corruption in Canadian P3 history.
Bob Rai, a Canadian aggregate supplier, armed with leaked documents, secret recordings, and other evidence, alleges that the Saskatchewan government and federal officials were involved in corrupt practices in the Regina Bypass project.
This project is seen as a significant piece of transportation infrastructure in Saskatchewan’s history.
Central to the controversy engulfing the Regina Bypass project is the procurement of aggregate – the crucial material comprising sand, gravel, and crushed stone, essential for road construction.
"The materials manager had already spilled the beans and said that we are getting all of our aggregate from the Ministry of Saskatchewan aggregate source," Bob Rai exposes a critical aspect of the scandal in a recorded phone call.
Evidence suggest that the Saskatchewan government silently provided aggregate for free, only for VINCI-RBDB to sell it back to the government at retail prices, summing up to a staggering half a billion dollars.
This situation not only suggests a potential misappropriation of public resources but also points to a possible circumvention of procurement norms and environmental regulations.
The Saskatchewan government affirmed that it would not provide crown aggregate to the awarded contractor in order to avoid triggering a lengthy federal environmental impact assessment.
Questions rise if VINCI-RBDB knew it'd be provided free aggregate during the bidding process.
Such actions, if proven true, could represent a significant breach of public trust and an egregious example of mismanagement in one of Canada's largest infrastructure projects.
A striking aspect of the Regina Bypass controversy is the stark contrast between the public denials of senior officials and the admissions captured in secret recordings.
High-ranking figures associated with the project have consistently denied any wrongdoing or irregularities. Yet, covertly recorded conversations tell a different story, particularly those involving the project's materials manager.
Bob Rai highlights this dichotomy:
"The executive directors of major projects, like David Stearns, were adamant that all aggregate was procured from existing private aggregate suppliers and that no crown aggregate would be utilized in the construction."
However, in stark contrast to these official statements, the materials manager of the project paints a different picture in secret recordings.
"I talked to David, and David said that the government of Saskatchewan is not allowed to provide any crown aggregate for this project,"
Rai recounts, suggesting that the public narrative was at odds with internal practices. In one of the secret recordings, the materials manager is heard admitting that the Saskatchewan government provided numerous pits including the one in Indian Head, SK.
A significant focus of the investigation into the Regina Bypass scandal is the alleged involvement of Amarjeet Sohi, a former federal Liberal Minister.
Accusations center around Sohi's purported facilitation of Whiterock Ventures Inc. (WRV), a trucking company linked to his brother and election donors.
Bob Rai, the whistleblower in this case, provides a critical account of Sohi's alleged actions.
"He came to the trucking company from Ottawa. He did not list his travel and expense it to the federal government,"
Rai claims, suggesting that Sohi's visits were deliberately kept off the official records.
"The reason that he came is because he is personally involved in the loot of taxpayers' money."
Further intensifying the allegations, Rai points out potential nepotism and favoritism in the project.
"Amarjeet Sohi did not disclose that he was in Regina on February 21st of 2017 at a trucker meeting that was attended by only Sikh truckers from Edmonton and a few from Regina that are affiliate with this Edmonton trucking operation," he alleges.
Whiterock Ventures Inc., a company based in Edmonton, is brought into the spotlight as a key player in this narrative.
"His middle brother's trucking company and other affiliates all came from Edmonton, Alberta to help the French giant from France remove this crown aggregate from a Ministry of Saskatchewan gravel pit quickly to the Regina bypass project,"
Rai explains, highlighting the rapid and irregular extraction of resources.
"We have somebody that is completely uneducated, can barely speak broken English, overseeing a multibillion-dollar project. So when Amarjeet Sohi became the infrastructure minister, his head was full of dollar signs, all he wanted to do was make projects compromised by using his authority and his power as the Infrastructure Minister of Canada."
THE PANAMA PAPERS
Another layer of complexity involves the executive committee member for Vinci-RBDB, Gordon Pasini, a Canadian whose name appeared in the Panama Papers.
Mr. Pasini did not respond to our inquiries regarding VINCI-RBDB's perspective and if CRA has been in contact with him.
CONTRACTUAL ANOMALIES IN THE REGINA BYPASS PROJECT AGREEMENT
The investigation into the Regina Bypass project has uncovered several alarming contractual anomalies, each raising significant concerns about the project's transparency and execution:
The project agreement, dated July 29, 2015, shows significant mismatches between the website's table of contents and the contract’s table of contents.
A notable discrepancy involves the presence of additional appendices not found in the project agreement contract.
The contract exhibits a missing schedule, an essential component that typically outlines specific timelines, responsibilities, and detailed plans for the project.
The discrepancies and gaps in the contract documentation, along with the deviations from stipulated terms, highlight a severe lack of transparency and accountability in the project's execution.
The contract's lack of signatures is a significant anomaly. In typical contractual agreements, especially those involving large public projects, signatures are essential for legal validation and mutual agreement
There is a noticeable mismatch between the table of contents as presented on the project's website and the one in the actual contract.