Maryland audit follows up on flaws in COVID-19 procurements

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A review of emergency procurements for supplies in Maryland during the COVID-19 pandemic found “a lack of compliance” in general with state regulations and “ineffective monitoring” of payments, according to a report released Thursday by the Maryland Office of Legislative Audits.

The review found that 11 of 15 emergency procurements totaling $189.4 million were not in compliance with all state regulations.

“For example, there was no formal written contract for three of the procurements and the contracts for the other eight procurements did not include all of the critical provisions required by State procurement regulations,” wrote Gregory Hook, the legislative auditor, in a letter to lawmakers introducing the review.

Hook wrote that the agencies responsible for the procurements “frequently could not provide critical documentation to support the basis for the purchases, including written explanations for how the vendors were identified and selected.”

“We also concluded that 7 emergency procurements with payments at the time of our review totaling $133.7 million were not effectively monitored,” Hook wrote. “For example, for four emergency procurements, we noted payments totaling $25.5 million made for which the responsible agencies could not document that the services had been received and that the payments were in accordance with the contract.”

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