Saturday, November 26, 2022

Study Finds: Contracting Weaknesses Leaves the Door Open to Government Corruption

By on October 3, 2022

Reveals how inconsistencies and lack of controls reduce efficiency and integrity in the use of public funds

Sembrando Sentido, a nonprofit organization that seeks to harvest knowledge, tools and inspiration to strengthen the efforts of civil society for more transparent, responsible, inclusive and efficient government practices, presented the Evaluation of Public Procurement Processes in Puerto Rico – a study that identified numerous weaknesses in contracting, exposing up to $3 billion of misuse and corruption, and resulting in the deterioration of essential services. This includes public-private partnerships (PPPs) like the one reached with LUMA Energy.

According to the report, contracting mechanisms such as PPPs and professional services lack transparency and robust competitive requirements. These weaknesses are more profound in PPP processes, which provide a high level of discretion toward direct contracting without competition. In addition, the contracting structure these partnerships utilize, make it possible to offer multiple benefits to proponents of proposals that were not solicited, including multimillion-dollar transactions with a great impact on services such as energy, transportation and infrastructure.

The report also points to the misuse of past states of emergencies to address foreseeable needs, without rigorous planning or true competition. “It is not a coincidence that the most scandalous corruption cases, such as Apex and Cobra, took place during states of emergency, because the standards of transparency and competition are easily bent.

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