Law to provide greater gov’t procurement transparency enacted in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed House Bill 1041 Thursday to broaden requirements for the government’s goods and services procurement process with the purpose of fostering more transparency and competition among bidders.
Existing law requires a public auction to be carried out for government procurement that exceeds $195,000. Pursuant to the amendments introduced through the bill, an auction must be held for the acquisition of non-professional goods or services whose cost is estimated at more than $100,000.
The measure, authored by Rep. Joel Franqui Atiles, also provides that bids exceeding the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) will not be accepted. In addition, all public auctions carried out by the bidding board must be streamed live.
Franqui Atiles said in a release issued by the governor’s office that “this measure has the potential to achieve millions in savings for the Government by changing the way it carries out purchases and will allow us to obtain the best prices.”
Rosselló added that “our Government is committed to work with strict transparency and facilitate access to all public information. Today we have an Anti-Corruption Code, as I promised the People. This Code integrates all the special anti-corruption laws that also make it possible that officials who fail the People [be required] to reimburse Treasury threefold the monetary amount their actions cost. In addition, said Code excludes those convicted of crimes against public funds from the benefit of suspended or probationary sentence.”
According to his office’s release, “the governor also noted that in February 2017, a historic agreement was signed with the federal authorities to work on government corruption cases, ” and that “with Act 27 of 2017, the Penal Code was amended to increase to 15 years the penalty of the crime of illegal appropriation of public funds after the last administration reduced it to eight years.”