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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Guam OPA Uncovers Questionable Vendor Expenditures
$3.67 million in locally-funded procurements found deficient

By Joy White

HAGTA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Dec. 21, 2012) – In an analysis of the government of Guam’s top 10 vendors, the Office of Public Accountability (OPA) discovered deficiencies amounting to $3.67 million in questioned costs.

The deficiencies include instances of paying vendors more than the original contract amount, not awarding the lowest bidder, no documented justification of a procurement, and missing documentation.

Vendors include those providing construction, consulting, transportation, adult care, food, training, and computer services.

The OPA audited 27 government of Guam procurement transactions across 30 agencies from 2009 to 2011. These transactions totaled $40.3 million.

According the audit report, 10 vendors received more than 40 percent of all of GovGuam’s procurement. The procurements were funded through federal grants, capital projects, special revenues and the General Fund.

Of the 27 audited, 30 percent of the transactions had deficiencies. These transactions were 99 percent locally funded and totaled $3.67 million.

Due diligence

The report states, "It appears there is a lack of due diligence with locally-funded procurement compared to federally-funded procurement as 99 percent of the questioned costs were associated with local funds. These conditions occurred because there was no secondary review of locally-funded procurement and no standard filing system to ensure proper filing of all procurement documents."

According to OPA, the Department of Corrections overpaid a food services contractor $1.1 million, exceeding the 10 percent threshold allowed in the invitation for bid.

A procurement file for an IFB made by the Department of Public Works for road construction services did not have justification for vendor selection. The lowest bidder was not awarded the contract for $2 million.

The OPA report also states it is doubtful that the General Services Agency looked for other firms that could have provided transportation services for a procurement in 2010. The contract was for $6,000.

The OPA also found that a poor filing system led to undocumented procurement methods and vendor selection for $532,000 worth of procurement.

"There is a need for stronger oversight and secondary review of local procurement," the report concludes. The OPA suggested that local procurement procedures follow federal procurement guidelines.

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