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Former Toronto executive charged for bribing a foreign public official

Ottawa (November 17, 2020) – The RCMP laid charges against former IMEX Systems Inc. executive, Damodar Arapakota, for bribing a public official from Botswana. The Mounties started their investigation dubbed ‘Project Alkaloid’ after IMEX self-reported allegations of illegal acts. On November 12, Arapakota has been charged under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.

The RCMP National Division Sensitive and International Investigations section charged Damodar Arapakota, a former Toronto executive from IMEX Systems Inc., for bribing a foreign official, according to a press release issued by the Mounties.

‘Project Alkaloid’

In October 2018, the RCMP launched the investigation, dubbed ‘Project Alkaloid’, after the new management of IMEX Systems self-reported allegations of illegal acts to the RCMP.

At this point, Arapakota was working as an executive for IMEX Systems Inc. a software development firm located in Toronto. Arapakota is accused of providing financial benefits for a Botswana official and his family.

‘IMEX Systems Inc.’s self-report to the RCMP demonstrated their leadership and professionalism towards foreign bribery,’ praised Insp. Denis Beaudoin, Officer in Charge of the RCMP International Anti-Corruption Investigative Team.

Bribing a foreign public official from Botswana

On November 12 of this year, the RCMP laid charges under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act against Arapakota. The former Toronto executive is scheduled to appear in the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto on December 15.

‘Canadian companies may face requests for bribes in many international business transactions, including trade and investment. This case is a good example where raising awareness and providing information to businesses and government officials is a key approach that is proven to help prevent and detect international corruption,’ said Insp. Beaudoin.

The RCMP pointed out that the case adds to recent operational successes in the police’s fight against international corruption. In December 2019, the SNC-Lavalin senior executive, Sami Bebawi, was found guilty of corruption and fraud and sentenced to eight and a half years in prison as a result of RCMP’s ‘Project Assistance’. The SNC-Lavalin Libya corruption case brought the engineering giant and former executives before the court for conducting fraud and corruption in Libya in order to secure business deals.

Moreover, on January 11, 2019, Robert Barra, former co-CEO of Cryptometrics US, and Shailesh Govindia, the CEO of Emerging Markets Groups Holdings Ltd., were both found guilty in the Cryptometrics bribery case and were each sentenced to 30 months in prison. It was alleged that Barra and Govindia had agreed to give a benefit to foreign public officials to ensure Cryptometrics Canada would obtain a contract with Air India.

The RCMP informed the public that they can report suspected bribery at RCMP.Nat.Intake-Triage.Nat.GRC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca or by phone at 613-993-6884.

Read more: SNC-Lavalin pleads guilty in Libya fraud case