The Inspector General’s office reported Wednesday that about $86.6 million in contracts has been lost in Congress due to poor contract management and cost overruns in technology upgrades.
According to Colombia’s Senate President Armando Benedetti, the most “shameless” example of poor contract management involved telephone company Empresa de Telefonos de Bogota (ETB). Benedetti said that $8.9 million was paid to ETB for computers, internet, and phone access. ETB, however, outsourced the labor instead of performing it themselves.
In another example of cost overruns, legislators signed a $6.1 million deal to update technology and digitize documents. The company never performed the job, and a day before the contract expired, the congressional director of planning signed a similar contract for $8.4 million with the company.
Congress also paid $1.2 million for new computers in administrative buildings, while the company installed computers with less expensive hardware than Congress had paid for.
Benedetti released a preliminary report Wednesday identifying 40 similar infractions. Although he did not immediately place blame on anyone, the report claimed that administrative Senate secretaries Selma Samur and Omar Velasquez signed many of the contracts.