The "Direct" Governing Style of Martinelli

Martinelli, after 16 months in office, is about to exceed the amount of direct contracts done in four years of administration by his predecessor.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Although during his campaign Ricardo Martinelli questioned direct purchases conducted by the administration of Martin Torrijos, his strong executive style of management leads to avoid bidding processes accumulating $ 490 million in direct contracting, while during the whole Torrijos administration such purchases came out to add about $ 540 million.

According to Ohigginis Arcia Jaramillo on his article in, Martinelli defends his style of management, "arguing that bids takes months and urgent solutions are required."

Among the most important purchases made without competitive bidding by the Martinelli´s government for $ 200 million are six helicopters, a coastal surveillance system and a digital mapping system to Italian companies Agusta Westerland, Selex Systems Integrati and Telespazio. Works to channel the Caldera River were awarded to Brazil's Odebrecht for $ 11 million and the second phase of the coastal strip for $ 52 million.

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More on this topic

Purchases Without Bidding in Guatemala

July 2013

Faced with criticism over multi million dollar direct purchases, the chief of Government justified these measures saying "a bidding tender does not guarantee transparency and honesty."

In interview for with Mauricio López Bonilla, Minister of the Interior, the official said that several strategic materials needed for the National Civil Police (PNC by its initials in Spanish) such as weapons, equipment, technology and infrastructure construction, will be some of the purchases made without tender processes.

Guatemalan Government Avoids Tenders

April 2012

Purchases are awarded on a competitive basis only 18% of the time. This was the previous government’s usual practice, and it seems to be same under the administration of Perez Molina.

According to Marvin Flores, expert from transparency watchdog Acción Ciudadana (AC in Spanish), this practice lends itself to anomalous acts in government, by public officials.

Guatemala: Still Extending Direct Contracts

March 2012

The Ministry of Finance has extended by a further three months its open contract with Arrocera San Francisco, which was awarded without competitive bidding and has been in force since November 2009.

"The Open Contract 07-2009, for Q110 million, was signed by the State Procurement Policy Directorate for supplies of rice, white and yellow maize, and black, red and white beans to the Ministry of Public Works of the First Lady, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Food Security and Nutrition,” reports

El Salvador: Reforms to Public Acquisitions Law

September 2010

One of the proposed reforms is to increase the amount of the direct purchases from $16,000 to $32,000.

Another modification to the Law of Acquisitions and Contracting of the Public Administration (LACAP for its acronyms in Spanish) tries to eliminate excessive red tape in most procedures, give more transparency to the bidding processes and to include more SMEs (small and medium businesses) in these processes.

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