By Troy Torres
Budget director Lester Carlson has corrected Kandit News's report that on April 17, 2020, he believed that an advance payment was made to two hotels without executed contracts with the government with the concurrence of Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense.
In an email to Kandit tonight, Mr. Carlson said he clearly meant in his April 17 email that advance payments were made without the concurrence of GHS/OCD, and without a contract being in place.
The payments were made under two GHS/OCD accounts, but without an executed contract in place, purchase orders, requisitions, requests for direct payment, or the certification of funds that would lead to legal payments.
Checks were not cut from the agency's accounts, but rather through an electronic funds transfer conducted by the Department of Administration. Civil Defense administrator Charles Esteves confirmed the payments from a review of the government's AS400 financial system.
Under §14113 of the government's certifying officer law, accountable officers of funds may be relieved from liability for improper payments if "the officer did not know or could not by reasonable diligence and inquiry have discovered that the information was incorrect; or the obligation was incurred in good faith."