Audit of the Virgin Islands Procurement of Desalination Plants

CED-79-96: Published: May 30, 1979. Publicly Released: May 31, 1979.

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On May 8, 1979, the Virgin Islands Legislature passed a bill appropriating $15.1 million to the Virgin Islands Water and Power authority for three desalination plants. In a December 1978 report, the Virgin Islands Comptroller concluded that the Water and Power Authority, an agency of the government, had not followed sound procurement procedures in awarding the contract. He recommended that the contract not be funded and that the procurement be rebid, using all appropriate procurement procedures and the assistance of a qualified independent engineering firm. A representative of the contracted firm alleged that the Comptroller had violated his statutory audit authority and acted improperly in trying to upset a contract which had been lawfully concluded.

The Comptroller's recommendation was advisory and therefore was not binding. A GAO review of the Comptroller's audit disclosed that he had not exceeded his statutory authority in conducting the audit and had performed the audit according to GAO auditing standards. The Comptroller supported his findings, conclusions, and recommendations by an objective analysis of pertinent documents and records and by pertinent interviews with appropriate Virgin Islands and Department of the Interior officials.

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