top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

OIG report points out errors in OGPe processes

By The Star Staff

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) uncovered non-compliance in the issuance of permits by the Office of Permits Management (OGPe) within the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC), the entity reported Wednesday.

“The report identified construction permits granted without all the required certifications, information, approvals, and documents,” the OIG report states.

The document points out that permits were granted by professionals without valid credentials as Authorized Professionals, violating Act 161-2009 and the Professional Regulation Regulation.

The study also found a need for audits on the Construction Permits granted by OGPe, Authorized Professionals, and autonomous municipalities. Between January and October 2021, about 5,524 construction permits were issued, of which only one was audited.

Furthermore, the report shows that the review of OGPe’s Professional Regulation required by law has yet to be conducted.

In response to the findings, the DDEC Secretary indicated that OGPe will implement a corrective action plan. The complete report is available on the OIG portal. To report found irregularities in the use of public funds.

Meanwhile, Félix Rivera, assistant secretary of the OGPe, assured that the report does not point out any errors in the granting of the permits, thus validating their issuance. There is no need for the permits to be revoked.

“It is essential to clarify that the mentioned observations are correctable since they relate to errors in issuing consolidated construction permits, and they do not diminish the merit of the evaluations conducted for granted permits. The report also does not reference corrupt acts by agency employees,” said Rivera in written statements.

Regarding a claim about the lack of documents for permit issuance, he clarified that the SBP system is integrated with multiple screens that correlate all the applications. In the case mentioned, where there was an apparent environmental non-compliance, although the proponent submitted an incorrect document, the specialist at OGPe verified that there is a record with the correct paper related to the request.

The report indicates that the documents do not comply with the language of the Joint Regulation, so the agency is evaluating the system’s weaknesses and how they can improve with new technology. “The entire OGPe staff is committed and strives to work with an evolving system that seeks continuous improvement so that these few cases stay within the majority of permits approved without any issues,” he said.

Finally, “we are working on updating the Regulation of Professional Regulation of OGPe, as required by Act 38-2017 known as the Uniform Administrative Procedure Law of the Government of Puerto Rico, to address the observations presented in the report.

49 views0 comments
bottom of page