OPA: favor-giving and receiving ruin the integrity of procurement process
Updated: Apr 28, 2021
Where a government transaction is involved, favor-giving and receiving are not ethically acceptable actions, the Office of Public Accountability said in a decision ordering the disbarment of a food vendor.
The OPA on Tuesday upheld its earlier decision disbarring SH Enterprises from participating in any government bidding for one year after it was found to have violated Guam's Procurement Law Ethical Standards.
The decision was based on a protest filed by Basil Food Industrial Services challenging the General Services Agency's (GSA) award of a $3.7 million contract to SH Enterprises to provide meals for senior citizens. SH has been a government contractor for 15 years.
"The award was based on the waiver of a health inspection requirement that was not waived for Basil for an earlier procurement," OPA said.
OPA held that SH engaged in unethical practice by allowing the government temporary use of the company-owned Hakubotan commercial building in Tamuning as the War Claims Processing Center last year.
OPA found that in mid-January 2020, more than a dozen government employees using government resources on government time cleaned, repaired and made several thousand dollars worth of renovations to SH’s private commercial building. The employees and resources were under the direction of the governor’s deputy chief of staff.
"The risk that favor-giving and receiving, which diminishes the procurement process’s integrity and frustrates the procurement law’s purposes, was
not eliminated to the extent that debarment would be unnecessary. The debarment for a period of one year is warranted in this case," OPA said.
OPA noted the necessity of protecting the public interest and promoting the government’s policy of conducting business with responsible bidders.
"Finally, the risk to the government continues through a governmental-commercial culture that accepts favor-giving and receiving, and that risk is exacerbated because the advice and counsel fail to recognize the risks posed from that culture," OPA said.
OPA said the parties have 14 days to appeal OPA's decision to the Superior Court.