Two employees of Jacobs Engineering, a multinational construction company, were convicted last year in America for their role in obtaining confidential details of competitors’ bids for an $800m (€650m) building project.
During the trial it was alleged that Jacobs’ employees got inside information about rival bids for a convention centre in Chicago from a lobbying company it was paying. It subsequently won the contract, worth $11.5m (€9m), after reducing its estimate by more than one-third.
Last week Jacobs’ Irish arm, which lists American and Canadian-based directors on its accounts, was awarded the tender to provide engineering, procurement and construction services for a 20km stretch of road on the N6 between Ballinasloe and Athlone.
The National Roads Authority (NRA), one of the bodies that awarded the contract, said it was unaware of the corruption investigation, conducted by the US attorney’s office. It said the tendering process it adopts is rigorously checked and all candidates are vetted for their ability to successfully and efficiently carry out a contract. There is no suggestion of any impropriety in relation to the N6 tender.