Friday, November 12, 2010

Hector to Audit Corrections Dept.

State Auditor Hector Balderas just announced that he'll be performing a special audit on the state Corrections Department concerning suspected "vendor abuse of the procurement process."

The news release was short on details. I'm not sure whether some kickback scam is at the center of this or what. And it's way too early to tell whether this audit will result in filling more prison beds.

Hopefully I'll be getting more details this afternoon.

Here's the news release:

State Auditor Hector Balderas announced today a special audit of the New Mexico Department of Corrections.  The State Auditor said the special audit will target potential abuse of the procurement process by certain vendors who were awarded large government contracts by the Department.  Allegations pertaining to questionable transactions were brought to the Auditor’s attention by Department management and a tip reported through his Fraud Hotline.
“After analyzing information on this case over recent months, I have determined that taxpayer dollars are at risk and an immediate special audit is warranted,” Balderas stated.  “Unlawful profiteering on the backs of New Mexico’s taxpayers will not be tolerated.”
Balderas said he looks forward to continuing to work closely with appropriate officials at the Department of Corrections during the course of the special audit.  The Office of the State Auditor has designated an audit team from the State Auditor’s Special Investigations Division to conduct the special audit.  A completion date has not been made public.

UPDATE 12:46 pm 11-12-10: The Associated Press is reporting that the audit concerns possible bid-rigging in construction and maintenance contracts at state prisons. Balderas told the AP that the contracts involve work such as roofing and security equipment installation at state-owned facilities. About $10 million worth of contracts with a high risk for excessive billing and collusio, the auditor said.