Feds wasted $57,000 of taxpayer money buying premium gasoline instead of standard grade, according to a government audit released Wednesday.
The Miami Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) office overpaid for bulk fuel purchases in 2015 because it bought premium fuel instead of standard grade, and did not justify the additional expense, the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) discovered in an audit.
The IG “found that the FBI Headquarters contracting official for FBI Miami was unaware of the type of fuel ordered,” the report says. The Miami office apparently knew they were buying premium grade fuel and gave the auditors “a number of possible benefits of using this premium grade fuel.”
The IG’s office, however, said that the Miami FBI “could not substantiate any of the benefits” to buying premium gas over the normal grade.
The report blames the mistake on “inadequate internal controls,” and believes the “FBI contracting official should have detected from the invoices that FBI Miami was buying a premium grade fuel and asked FBI Miami why this type of fuel was necessary for its vehicle fleet.”
The government does not allow federal agencies to buy premium gasoline unless there’s a good reason for it. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, the government allowed federal agencies to buy premium fuel in certain counties in Texas, but standard gas was not available.
The audit covered two contracts, totaling $460,084, between FBI and Petroleum Traders Corporation (PTC). One contract was for the FBI’s Miami field office, the other for Northern Virginia Resident Agency.
The FBI’s office in Miami, as well as its office in Northern Virginia, “did not ensure that the amount of fuel delivered matched the amount billed on the invoices,” the report found. And yet, the IG did say that PTC “properly billed the FBI for the bulk fuel procured on the two contract actions, and that PTC complied with the terms and conditions of both actions.”
While the problems highlighted by the IG were limited to the two contracts with PTC, “some of the issues could occur in other contract actions in which the FBI purchases fuel in bulk,” the report said.
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