The San Juan Daily Star
Transparency portal available for reporting misuse of FEMA funds
By The Star Staff
In order to expand efforts to ensure the proper use of funds allocated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3) Executive Director Manuel A. Laboy Rivera on Wednesday announced the availability of the COR3 Transparency Portal (pr.gov), a digital tool to report fraud, waste or abuse in the use of funds from FEMA’s Public Assistance and Harm Mitigation Grant programs.
“As part of COR3’s responsibilities to protect the integrity of federal grant programs, we are creating the necessary mechanisms to ensure the correct use of the funds FEMA allocates to government agencies, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations,” Laboy Rivera said. “The new section in the Transparency Portal makes it more accessible and easier for anyone who believes that there is an improper use of funds to make a complaint.”
As an example, the COR3 Compliance Division could address complaints related to irregularities in the processes of procurement of goods and services, fraud and conflicts of interest, as well as instances of bribery, extortion and intimidation referred by COR3 employees, sub-recipients and/or contractors, among others.
Those interested in making a complaint, which could be anonymous if desired, should include a summary of the events explaining the nature of the situation, scope, and period of time in which the alleged irregularity arose, how he/she became aware of the questioned activity and how the acts in question were carried out. The name and contact information of the individual(s) or company(s) related in the report should also be included, as well as the name and contact information of any witnesses who may help corroborate the information reported.
“I always emphasize that the reconstruction of Puerto Rico has to be carried out in compliance with laws and regulations, both state and federal,” Laboy Rivera said. “For this reason, I call on citizens, sub-recipients and contractors to report any irregularities in the reconstruction process. Gov. Pedro Pierluisi is emphatic that the development of permanent works must be agile, but in compliance with the correct use of these funds allocated by the United States government.”
Once the complaint is filed through the digital format, the filer will receive an automatic message to acknowledge receipt of it. The information provided will be reviewed by an investigative specialist to determine the course of action, including conducting a more thorough investigation or referring the matter to the appropriate office.