Tripoli: March 22
Canada’s ambassador Sandra McCardell has been relieved of her duties in Libya following allegations that her husband, . . .[restrict]Edis Zagorac used her position to secure lucrative contracts with the Qaddafi regime.
The Canadian Foreign Affairs Ministry has made a point of syaing that a January enquiry it mounted had cleared McCardell of any wrong-doing. A ministry spokesman emphasised that she was likely to be reassigned to another top position somewhere else in the Arab world.
After returning to Tripoli last October, when she accompanied Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on a tour, which included Qaddafi’s ruined Bab al-Aziziya compound, McCardell oversaw the reopening of the Canadian diplomatic mission in Al-Fateh Tower, which she and other diplomats had evacuated on February 26, 2011.
However the following month, as allegations surfaced about her husband’s business involvement with the former regime, McCardell returned to Ottowa, officially to undertake an intensive advanced course in Arabic. Since then, the ambassadorial duties in Tripoli have been performed by the chargé d’affaires.
Edis Zagorac was hired in 2010 by Canadian contractor SNC-Lavalin to be part of a military-civilian engineering enterprise set up as a joint venture with the Qaddafi regime and known as “The Corps of Engineers of Libya.”
The Corps’ first project was a $271-million prison known as the Gharyan Rehabilitation Institution or “Judicial City,” In the pipeline but never begun were a major road, water and power plants and a military academy.
SNC-Lavelin reportedly established close relations with the Qaddafi regime through its executive vice president, construction, Riadh Ben Aïssa, a Qaddafi family friend. The Canadian company also strengthened its Libya team by engaging the former Canadian ambassador to Tunisia, Bruno Picard to be its head of business development.
SNC-Lavelin has been reported as having won billions of dollars of contracts in Libya. Seemingly without the knowledge of top management, the company sought to assist at least one member of the Qaddafi regime to flee. SNC-Lavelin hired the team led by Gary Peters that smuggled Saadi Qaddafi out of Libya to Niger. When Peters, who claimed to be a former Australian special forces member, went public with his exploits, SNC-Lavelin fired Riadh Ben Aïssa, along with Stephane Roy, a controller, both of whom had reportedly set up the rescue operation. [/restrict]