By Johnnie Rosario
(Tumon, Guam) Claudia Acfalle, chief procurement officer for the government of Guam, testified under oath before a legislative oversight committee tonight that Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero NEVER suspended the island's procurement laws. Her statement directly contradicted the earlier testimony of Haig Huynh, the governor's legal counsel and son in law, who told senators under oath that the governor had suspended procurement laws and rules, and that is how she justified her sole source of hotels. Some of those hotels have outstanding loan balances with the bank her family owns.
This is the first time since the corruption scandal began that Ms. Acfalle has answered before a tribunal.
Senators are grilling Leon Guerrero administration officials, including Mr. Huynh, about the illegal procurement of hotels using federal funds. The hotels - Santa Fe, Days Inn, Wyndham Gardens, and Pacific Star - were used between mid-March and May 9 for the quarantine and isolation of incoming travelers and returning residents.
Sen. Sabina Perez, who is presiding over the committee, asked Ms. Acfalle what role she played in the procurement of the hotels.
"I had no participation," Ms. Acfalle said.
Senators asked her what procurement authority Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero had to bypass her agency, the General Services Agency, and the approving agency, Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense, in procuring the hotels. Ms. Acfalle responded by citing the governor's executive order declaring the public health emergency, where the governor regurgitates a section of the Emergency Health Powers Act that allows the public health authority - Linda DeNorcey - to waive specific procurement laws and regulations. The law and the executive order both state that those portions of law or rule or regulation should be enumerated in an executive order.
"[The executive order] did not delineate that the governor suspended either 5GCA, or 2GARR," - Ms. Acfalle told senators.
5GCA is a reference to the Procurement Law of Guam under Title 5, Guam Code Annotated, and the rules and regulations governing procurement under Title 2 of the Guam Administrative Rules and Regulations.
Both the law and the rules supplementing the law hold that certain actions must be taken by proper authorities in order for contracts to be executed, and payments made to vendors of the government, including during emergencies. Among requirements, especially for purchases over $500,000, are the provision of price quotes, the certification of funds, requisitions or requests for direct payment, and fully executed contracts.
The hotels procurement, for which the hotels were paid upon the May 8 command of Ms. Leon Guerrero, had none of those documents.