Quebec’s anti-corruption squad, UPAC, suspects that the IT director of the province’s Ministry of Public Safety, Abdelaziz Younsi, had traveled with Mohamed El-Khayat, co-founder of Informatique EBR, prior to the latter receiving a computer contract renewal worth $3.7 million.
These are among new details emerging from a large-scale inquiry into the province’s government IT contract selection process, which was called into question following arrests made in a corruption scheme in March worth $24 million. That scheme involved employees from IBM, Revenue Quebec and Informatique EBR, a Quebec City-based solution provider.
The new findings were part of a search warrant obtained by UPAC that was made public by a court in July, parts of which had been either redacted or are under a publication ban.
Both Younsi and El-Khayat have been arrested and charged with fraud and conspiracy. Others arrested in the March corruption scheme include Jean-François Robidas, EBR’s vice president of sales, IBM employees Patrick Fortin, Gilles Gariépy and Daniel Letourneau and Revenue Quebec employees Hamid Iatmanene and Jamal El Khaiat.
IBM and EBR were alleged in March to have used the information to design their bid before the call for submissions was made public.
La Presse reports [French] that investigators reviewed the travel history of Younsi and El-Khayat. While details involving the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) were not made public, it was revealed that Younsi had applied for a passport in 2010.
The police also looked to access Younsi’s phone records. UPAC began investigation in 2013 following a tip to its hotline, according to La Presse. Raids were conducted on EBR and Public Safety in June 2014 and on private homes in the spring this year.
Earlier this month, Quebec’s Auditor General released a report which found “gaps in key stages of the contract management processes are prevalent in eight departments and agencies audited and affect the vast majority of 27 contracts examined.”