- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2013

An internal watchdog is criticizing the Justice Department's Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for not warning fellow agencies about a contractor causing problems.

Investigators at the DOJ Inspector General said in 2007 that contractor Medical Development International (MDI) billed the government for incorrect work hours, leading to the agency paying out $2.4 million incorrectly.

Since then, Justice Department officials have recouped the money and improved the oversight process to stop similar mistakes from happening. But they didn’t warn other agencies of MDI’s problems, leaving open the possibility the company could again get millions incorrectly from the government.

“Despite having what we believe to be a reasonable justification to do so, the BOP never recommended MDI for suspension or debarment from future government contracts, which would have helped to protect other federal agencies,” the IG said.

BOP agreed with the IG’s assessment and said they would improve the notification system.

“The bureau … will establish procedures to improve communication regarding non-responsible contractors and to set forth guidance when contracting staff must consider award to contractors who have previously been found to be non-responsible,” a response from the office said.

MDI is still facing controversy with a group of subcontractors that say the company owes them more than $6 million for services.

Although inspectors have found no problems, they said that a lack of information would make it easier for federal agencies to contract with businesses having financial difficulties.

The Washington Times recently reported on a similar situation at the Transportation Department where contractors that were barred from receiving funds still got business from the government anyway.

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