In announcing glad tidings regarding the Port of Sydney's new saviour - the China Communications Construction Company - Sydney Mayor Cecil Clarke was typically effusive.
"I look forward to welcoming our new friends to Sydney in the New Year as they begin their work, Cecil said in a December 8 press release. That new work, in case you haven't heard, involves the Chinese company conducting a feasibility study into the construction of a billion-dollar container port facility. The deal was put together by Albert Barbusci and Barry Sheehy (Frank 718), those princes among men who, for whatever reason, hold the exclusive rights to negotiate on behalf of the Sydney port.
"Harbor‑Port Development Partners are attracting the right global partners to support this important infrastructure project," Cecil gushed.
Curiously, media gathered at the invitation-only
sideshow announcement didn't put any probing questions to the excitable mayor. Questions like, "If these guys are the right global partners, who precisely would the wrong ones be? ISIS?"
For whatever reason, nobody has seen fit to report that the China Communications Construction Company is crooked as the day is long.
According to a release on the World Bank website, the international lender effectively blacklisted CCCC in connection with "fraudulent practices" that took place on a road-building project in the Philippines. The Chinese company is ineligible to engage in any road or bridge projects that involve the World Bank until 2017.
If that doesn't hit close enough to home for you, consider this: just last year, a European newspaper chastised the Maltese government for climbing into bed with CCCC, after the company "gifted Malta a 'free' 4 million Euro feasibility study on building a bridge":
"(CCCC) has a history of greasing the palms of officials in third world countries," said a piece in the Malta Independent. (Was only a matter of time before they found Nova Scotia, then-ed.)
"Earlier this year," the story continues, "a Kenyan MP said 'shadowy forces' were behind the awarding of a contract to CCCC for the building of a railroad. CCCC carried out a ‘free’ feasibility study on the project, whose cost have been steadily inflating."
Then there's the fact that officials in Tanzania were recently charged with fraud in connection with a "bloated" port contract, "whose costs were double that of similar projects."
Meantime, a Central American business newspaper reports that CCCC has also been linked to fraud, bribery, breach of contract and environmental damage in Bangladesh, Jamaica and Mexico.
Spoiler alert: the Chinese will declare the Sydney port project to be feasible, and will immediately ask for hundreds of millions in government money in order for work to commence immediately.
And, in the not-too-distant future, thanks to Mayor Cecil, his beloved town will take its rightful place alongside other backwaters that have been hosed by these particular grifters of the Orient.
CONTACT US: Frank Magazine Box 295, Halifax N.S. B3J 2N7 -- Phone: 902 420 1668 -- Fax: 902 423 0281