Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. has asked the Attorney General of Guam to consider taking legal action against responsible persons in the government of Guam in light of discrepancies found in the government’s procurement of hotel services for COVID-19 isolation and quarantine in early 2020.
The Senator’s request comes in the heels of a report released by the Office of the Public Auditor on the procurement. The OPA report, numbered 21-06, was entitled “Government of Guam Procurement of Hotels Used for COVID-19 Quarantine Audit.”
In his letter to Attorney General of Guam Leevin Camacho, Blas wrote that there were details on how the procurement was conducted that appeared to be sufficient to pursue legal action. He further pointed out that four specific deficiencies in the Office of the Governor’s handling of the procurement were identified by the OPA and requested that he use those as the basis to start an investigation.
Those deficiencies were:
(1) The Governor’s Office lacking procurement authority to procure quarantine and isolation facilities;
(2) The Governor’s legal counsel had a conflict of interest with one of the awarded facilities;
(3) An incomplete procurement record; and
(4) The quarantine and isolation facility contracts did not conform to the requirements set forth in the Government’s Executive Order and Procurement Law.
“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. I agree with the findings of the OPA that how the procurement was conducted undermined the integrity of the process and led to 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.
In ending his letter, Blas wrote, “Guam law is explicit in the reasons and use of emergency procurement, as well as the powers and discretion the Governor may have in an emergency declaration. However, as inferred by the OPA, the power and discretion should not extend past what is set by law.”
Blas provided a copy of his letter to the OPA and all members of the 36th Guam Legislature.
(Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. Release)