The Puerto Rico Office of the Inspector General and the Puerto Rican Industry Investment Board signed an agreement Tuesday establishing a specialized unit to monitor the government’s purchasing process and ensure that priority is given to locally made products.
As part of the agreement, the unit will work under the Inspector General to investigate complaints by Puerto Rican entrepreneurs who report violations to Law 14 that establishes the government’s buying requirements.
“We designated a group of auditors whose primary focus is the control of government procurement,” Inspector General Ricardo Dalmau said. “Through this agreement, we will address the complaints filed by the Puerto Rican Industry Investment Board.”
“Our goal is that small and medium businesses know they have two additional resources to complain to in cases that warrant intervention to protect the interests of sustainable development of locally produced goods and services,” he added.
The specialized unit will also help the Puerto Rican Industry Investment Board “be more proactive in solving solid cases presented to us so we can be more effective in implementing strategies that provide greater business opportunities for local entrepreneurs with the government,” agency Executive Director Javier Rivera-Aquino said.
The agreement signed between both agencies includes training auditors on the scope and compliance of Law 14, known as the Preference Law, and programming and conducting specialized audits to identify the possible manipulation of procurement systems and bids to benefit a specific local supplier or benefit foreign suppliers over local competitors.
If warranted, the findings will be referred to the appropriate agencies including the Justice Department, the Government Ethics Office, the Office of the Comptroller and federal agencies for appropriate legal action.