5 Brandon contractors charged with federal conspiracy offences linked to Manitoba Housing contracts

Five Brandon-based contractors have been charged with federal conspiracy offences for allegedly trying to defraud the Manitoba government of millions of dollars in contracts for fixing up social housing units.

The results of a Competition Bureau investigation found the five individuals manipulated at least 89 contracts awarded to them by the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation, according to a news release Monday.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada filed a preferred indictment against the five contractors for allegedly dividing up the contracts among themselves for refurbishment services for social housing units.

Matthew Boswell, the commissioner of competition with the bureau, suggested the accused colluded to suppress competition, which “is a serious crime.”

“It results in higher costs for construction projects and is especially concerning when it comes to affordable housing,” Boswell said in a statement.

The contracts, valued at about $4.5 million, were awarded between December 2011 and February 2016.

The contractors have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud over $5,000 under the federal Competition Act, and under the Competition Act for conspiring to allocate contracts.

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