AGO asked to take legal action on GovGuam's questionable hotel deals
Sen. Frank F. Blas Jr. is asking Attorney General Leevin Camacho to take legal action against those responsible for the questionable procurement of hotel services used for Covid-19 isolation and quarantine early last year.
The senator made the request on the heels of the Office of Public Accountability's audit, which found several irregularities in the transactions that resulted in $3 million in questioned cost.
The OPA, for example, found a potential conflict of interest when Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's then legal counsel and son-in-law, Haig Huynh, was placed in charge of the initial procurement for quarantine and isolation facilities.
“The audit reviewed the procurement of about $11 million in services contracted by the government and found deficiencies that should warrant an investigation by the AG," Blas stated in his letter to Camacho.
The governor invoked her emergency powers when the government procured hotel facilities that were used to quarantine arriving passengers and government employees.
OPA, however, questioned the governor's role in the acquisition process.
While the executive order authorized the director of public health to exercise all powers set forth in the declaration, the governor delegated her legal counsel to handle the initial emergency procurement for quarantine and isolation facilities
"I agree with the findings of the OPA that how the procurement was conducted undermined the integrity of the process and led to the non-compliance with Guam procurement law. In other words, it appears that what was done was illegal and somebody has to answer for it,” Blas said.
Blas noted that Guam law is clear on the use of emergency procurement and the scope of the governor's emergency powers.
"However, " he added, "as inferred by the OPA, the power and discretion should not extend past what is set by law.”