Audit blasts Manus detention contract
Home Affairs didn't document its reasons for asking a little-known company to apply for a now-controversial contract for services on Manus Island or demonstrate that it gave value for money, the audit office has found.
The auditor-general has examined tenders for garrison support and welfare services at offshore immigration centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
That includes a $423 million contract awarded through a closed tender process in 2017 to Paladin, whose Australian arm was registered to a beach shack on Kangaroo Island until early 2019.
The audit report, released on Thursday, says a conflict of interest arising from a bureaucrat having multiple roles in the process was neither acknowledged nor managed.
"The department was aware of 11 providers that could have potentially offered some or all elements of the required garrison support and welfare services but it did not document its reasons for requesting quotations from the three selected providers (including Paladin)," the report states.
It also says the value for money in that contract was unclear because the services required were substantially expanded during negotiations.
And there was no monitoring of performance or requirements to report for about eight months between the work starting under a letter of intent and the signing of an actual contract.
Home Affairs has promised the auditor it will make sure all decisions under limited tenders are properly documented in future.
Originally published as Audit blasts Manus detention contract