U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowed multimillion-dollar fraud in Puerto Rico’s power grid repair contracts

The audit of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) published Sept. 30, 2019 details how two of its districts — Hunstville and Jacksonville — failed to supervise and review the contracts, invoices and work performed by companies Fluor Enterprises and PowerSecure in Puerto Rico. These failures led to the U.S. Corps of Engineers paying $20.9 million to Fluor Enterprises and $29.2 million to PowerSecure.

El Cuerpo de Ingenieros de EE UU permitió un desfalco multimillonario en la recuperación de la red eléctrica en Puerto Rico

La auditoría al Cuerpo de Ingenieros, publicada el pasado 30 de septiembre, detalla cómo dos de sus distritos — Hunstville y Jacksonville — fallaron en supervisar y revisar los contratos, facturas y trabajos realizados por las empresas Fluor Enterprises y PowerSecure en Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico’s Former FEMA Chief Moves to a Firm that Advises the Island’s Main Recovery Office

The former Coordinator for Disaster Recovery for Puerto Rico for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael F. Byrne, now works with one of the companies that advises the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency, known as COR3, the agency established by the government of Puerto Rico to centralize funds and efforts for the recovery process after Hurricane María. Byrne left FEMA in April and, according to his official LinkedIn account, a month later he started working with Deloitte, one of the four firms that offers services to COR3. In his new role in the private sector, Byrne said he will “support clients though the complete cycle of crisis preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.”

Deloitte’s contract with COR3 — for $31.6 million — was granted June 7, 2018 and runs until June 30, 2021. According to the contract, Deloitte — a multinational firm that provides audit services and financial advice, among others — is involved in formulating the necessary budget for general recovery efforts, trains COR3 employees for fraud detection and prevention, and helps in the compliance with legal requirements related to disaster and recovery issues. Likewise, COR3 delegated to Deloitte the development of a strategic plan for Puerto Rico’s short-, medium-, and long-term recovery.