USAID Reports Progress on Suspension and Debarment Practice

The U.S. Agency for International Development has come up with standard operating procedures to aid the process of suspension and debarment of contractors, a USAID official told a March 18 House Oversight and Government Reform hearing.

According to Drew W. Luten, senior deputy assistant administrator at USAID’s Bureau for Management, the agency disbursed USD8.9 billion through grants and cooperative agreements and carried out procurements valued at USD4.6 billion in fiscal year 2009.  

“We have more work to do to more proactively protect each of these dollars, but we have taken great strides to date to strengthen our procedures and meet our needs,” he said.

USAID, Luten said, created an e-mail box to receive so-called “contractor disclosure statements” that would include credible evidence of possible federal criminal law violations such as false claims and bribery. A panel of experts, who will compose the Contractor Disclosure Board, will then review the merit of these statements, severity of violations and suitable action, if any. The board will consult the agency’s general counsel and inspector general to make a recommendation to the agency senior procurement executive, the authority that will make the final decision.

Luten said USAID is currently handling six self-disclosure reports under the new mechanism and attested that “the Contractor Disclosure Board is working.” He also revealed plans for training of contracting staff on the new guidance in the coming months.

In January, USAID established a partner compliance and performance oversight division under the Office of Acquisition and Assistance, which will refer cases to the senior procurement executive. Luten said the agency is now finalizing the unit’s roles responsibilities and is looking for “talented” experts to staff the new entity.

About the author

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    Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino is an associate editor for Devex and leads the company's news team in Manila. She played a critical role in conceptualizing the Development Newswire. Prior to joining Devex in 2004, she has already published articles and news briefs for Internet media organizations and for the Institute for Ethics and Economic Policy at Fordham University in New York. She earned her bachelor's in political science and master's in public affairs from the University of the Philippines. Eliza is a member of Mensa Philippines.