The chair of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Working Group on Bribery said today Jody-Wilson Raybould’s testimony on SNC-Lavalin compelled the group to speak out on allegations of political interference in the criminal case against the Quebec engineering firm.
“Allegations which were expressed there immediately raised all alarms sounding in the working group on bribery and that’s why we started the debate,” said Drago Kos in an interview with CBC News Network’s Power & Politics on Wednesday.
Speaking before the House justice committee on February 27, Jody Wilson-Raybould alleged that, as attorney general, she faced “consistent and sustained” pressure from senior people in the Trudeau government to interfere in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. The Canadian company was charged in 2015 with allegedly bribing Libyan officials.
On Monday, the OECD released a statement saying that it would be watching the SNC-Lavalin affair closely.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, have insisted they exerted no inappropriate pressure on Wilson-Raybould. Trudeau has acknowleged, however, that he asked her to “revisit” her decision to not negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin that would have allowed it to avoid a trial, saying he was concerned about the loss of 9,000 jobs that might follow the company going under.
Pointing to article 5 in OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention, Kos said national economic interest is not something the prosecution should consider when deciding whether to proceed to trial.
“I think we would all agree that only the merits of the case should be taken into consideration and nothing else,” he said.