Company related to ArriveCAN | Dalian founder also disputes Auditor General’s figures

(Ottawa) After the partners of GC Strategies, it is the turn of the founder of Dalian Enterprises inc. to challenge the Auditor General’s figures. David Yeo said his firm had received 4.9 million contracts for ArriveCAN and not 7.9 million as Karen Hogan wrote in her devastating report on the application’s cost overruns. He refused to say how much his commission was and said he had not deposited any money into his accounts in tax havens.

“I have read the report,” he said, taking care to show the camera the paper version that he annotated during his testimony by videoconference Tuesday afternoon to the public accounts committee of the House of Commons .

This is the first time he has spoken publicly since becoming the subject of controversy. The firm he founded, Dalian Enterprises Inc., was the one that obtained one of the largest sums for the development ofArriveCANafter GC Strategies.

One of the partners of GC Strategies, Darren Anthony, sowed disbelief and even provoked laughter among MPs when he admitted last week to not having read the Auditor General’s report which called his company into question.

Mr. Yeo claimed to have made 1.6 million per year for three years for a total of 4.9 million on the contract which led him to work on ArriveCAN. His role was to find personnel specializing in information technology to subcontract the work to them.


David Yeo, chairman of Dalian

The Auditor General’s office maintained its estimate of 7.9 million on Tuesday.

Asked about the companies he opened in tax havens, Mr. Yeo claimed to have done so before a stay in Afghanistan to work as a contract worker for the National Defense and to have not deposited any money there.

The Press released his fake news,” he said.

The Press revealed last month that Mr Yeo had opened two companies in tax havens since 2011, a practice which is not illegal, but which constitutes a red flag, according to experts.

At the start of his testimony, Mr. Yeo said that “unfortunately, no media had contacted Dalian” before reporting his suspension from his position as a civil servant at National Defense at the end of February. He also worked as a consultant for the ministry. He said he left his job as a civil servant recently after only 168 days on the job.

The Press had nevertheless tried to contact Mr. Yeo and Dalian on multiple occasions before publishing the article on his companies in tax havens, then in the following days and weeks. Mr Yeo did not then respond to any of the questions sent by The Press to his cell phone, his professional email and the general address in Dalian regarding his off-shore activities.

A receptionist working for both Mad Ads Interactive and Dalian confirmed verbally to The Press forwarded the emails to him. The Press also visited in person the office Dalian shares with Coradix in downtown Ottawa and Mr. Yeo’s residence.

“Your response is mind-blowing,” exclaimed Bloc Québécois MP Nathalie Sinclair-Desgagné.

“Perhaps the media foolishly assumed that what you said in Parliament on October 31 was the truth,” Conservative MP Garnett Genuis argued wryly.

During his testimony to the Government Operations Committee in October 2023 on his participation in the development ofArriveCAN, Mr. Yeo still ran for president of Dalian. He then made no mention of his new position as a civil servant at National Defense or of the measures put in place to avoid any conflict of interest. He stepped down as administrator of Dalian in early March after being suspended by the Ministry of National Defense.

This change triggered a second audit by the Ministry of Indigenous Services into the company’s eligibility for contracts reserved for First Nations contractors. Companies listed in the Indigenous Business Directory must prove that their owners have majority control in addition to demonstrating that they are members of a First Nation or part of the Inuit or Métis people and that they reside in Canada to have access to the billion dollars in federal contracts reserved for them annually.

Mr. Yeo is a member of Alderville First Nation, Ontario, information confirmed to The Press by the community leader.

The entrepreneur, who served for years in the Canadian Armed Forces, presented himself with his four military medals in his lapel for his testimony. A certificate recognizing his work in Afghanistan was clearly visible behind him.

His candidacy for the People’s Party of Canada in the 2021 federal election was also raised by elected officials. Mr. Yeo indicated that he was now a member of the Conservative Party of Canada and went so far as to show the camera a card to prove it. This turned out to be a donor card and not a membership card, which the Conservative MPs present in the room, including the chair of the committee, were quick to point out.

He indicated that he had not been contacted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which opened an investigation following allegations raised by the Montreal firm Botler AI. Botler AI executives had accused Dalian of using their identities without their knowledge or consent in a “ghost contracting” scheme between GC Strategies, Dalian and Coradix in an unrelated project. has ArriveCAN. In other words, Dalian and Coradix subcontracted the work to GC Strategies which, in turn, subcontracted it to Botler AI. “Irrational” statements, according to Mr. Yeo.

Other testimonies are expected this week in the wake of the scandalArriveCAN. Three senior officials from the Ministry of National Defense will have to explain to the public accounts committee on Thursday how Mr Yeo was able to be hired as a civil servant when his company was already doing contract work. The day before, the government operations committee will hear from the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Jean-Yves Duclos.

With Vincent Larouche, The Press


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