The Office of the Public Auditor has been asked by a private citizen to investigate a sole-source $229,000 contract awarded to Success International Corp. to provide heavy equipment for the Marpi landfill, while a lawmaker will make the same request on Tuesday.
Rep. Ray Tebuteb (R-Saipan) said yesterday that his investigation request would be more than to determine whether a no-bid or emergency contract is justified, but also to determine whether the CNMI risks a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency citation or loss of federal funds if the sole-source contract award violates any EPA consent decree, laws, or regulations.
He said the fact that the Division of Environmental Quality was not made aware of a change in heavy equipment contractor for the only EPA-compliant civilian landfill among all Pacific island territories raises a red flag.
Moreover, the investigation he is requesting will also seek to determine whether the governor's staunch supporters-including Tony Rasiang and Felix Nogis-helped tip the scale in favor of Success International to get the emergency contract award.
“How did DPW know that only Success International had the specialized equipment called the rolling compactor they need for the landfill? Does DPW have an EPA certified personnel to oversee the Marpi operations? Did DPW consider PDL's [Pacific Drilling Ltd.] willingness to help in the transitioning to a new contractor before awarding an emergency contract to Success International?” Tebuteb told Saipan Tribune yesterday.
A private citizen confirmed with Saipan Tribune last night that he had already asked OPA to look into the sole-source contract last week.
The private citizen, who asked that his name be withheld, said that part of his request is to check the kind of heavy equipment that Success International has.
“DPW is saying it's only for 120 days. But what if the RFP process is not done yet after the 120 days? Then they will renew this supposed to be short-term contract?” the concerned citizen said.
Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos told reporters Friday that as long as an emergency or no-bid procurement is justified, then it is within laws and regulations. But he said he will look into the contract.
Documents obtained by Saipan Tribune show that Success International was awarded a no-bid contract to supply heavy equipment for Marpi landfill's operations for 120 days until the Department of Public Works issues a request for proposal and award a longer-term contract.
The emergency contract requires a monthly payment of $54,800 or $219,000 contract price, plus $10,000 in mobilization cost for a total contract price of $229,000.
Success International is owned by Jun Miao Guo, more known as “Henry Miao.”
Waited for 21 days
Acting DPW secretary Anthony A. Camacho justified the need for an emergency procurement to Procurement and Supply director Herman Sablan on Aug. 31, or 21 days after former contractor PDL notified DPW on Aug. 8 that it is no longer interested in extending the contract expiring on Sept. 1.
Sablan granted the emergency procurement request on the same day DPW asked for it, which was a day before the Sept. 1 expiration of the PDL contract.
Camacho said the Marpi landfill operation “is a highly regulated activity for environmental, health and safety concerns.”
The $10-million Marpi landfill handles some 40 tons of wastes each day, and the placement of refuse must be done in a careful manner to ensure compliance with U.S. EPA consent orders, Camacho said.
“Proper disposal of refuse presents direct health and safety concerns not only in the containment of refuse but also as to rodent and infectious wastes control. For these reasons, it is essential that the Commonwealth have the continuous services of [a] qualified contractor to fulfill the required services of the Marpi landfill for a 90-120 days period,” Camacho told Sablan in an Aug. 31 letter.
The DPW acting secretary said Success International is also charging DPW $3,900 less every month compared to PDL.
Camacho said PDL's monthly charge was $58,000, whereas Success International is only $54,800.
This procurement came to light just as a special committee is holding hearings on a resolution impeaching the governor for 16 allegations of corruption, neglect of duty, and felony.
Fitial, Inos, the DPW Solid Waste Division, DPW's Accounting Branch and DPW's Purchasing Branch were furnished a copy of Camacho's Aug. 31 letter to the Procurement and Supply director.