Foreign firms implicated in corruption probes to be blacklisted: Algeria

ALGIERS, Algeria – Algeria will blacklist foreign companies involved in corruption investigations, the country’s energy minister said Thursday, without naming any specific firm.

Oil-rich Algeria has been rocked by a string of corruption scandals largely involving foreign firms paying bribes to win lucrative oil and infrastructure projects. Most deals have involved state energy company Sonatrach.

Speaking to parliament on Thursday, Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi said these companies can no longer conclude new contracts in Algeria and may also be subject to reparations.

Algeria is currently investigating Italian firm Saipem and Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

SNC-Lavalin spokeswoman Leslie Quinton says the company has not been notified by the government about being on a blacklist.

“We remain committed to Algeria and hope that we will be judged on the many important accomplishments we have made in compliance and governance, as opposed to the behaviour of certain employees no longer with the company,” she wrote in an email.

The latest corruption allegations in the North African country involve power plants built for Sonelgaz, the national electricity provider.

Police raided SNC-Lavalin’s headquarters in Algeria on May 27.

Algerian media say police are investigating an $825-million contract SNC-Lavalin won in 2005 to build the Hadjret Ennous power plant near Algiers.

They carted away files and other material after locking down the building for eight hours.

It was the third raid of an SNC-Lavalin office and the first outside of Canada.

— With files by The Canadian Press