Suspension and debarment actions are administrative remedies taken by federal agencies to exclude companies or individuals from receiving federal contracts or assistance because of misconduct. These exclusions are important tools for ensuring that agencies award contracts only to responsible companies, individuals and organizations.
A suspension is a temporary exclusion pending the completion of an investigation or legal action. A debarment excludes a company or individual from receiving government contracts for a fixed term determined by the Suspension and Debarment Official (SDO). All suspended and/or debarred companies are placed on the General Services Administration Excluded Parties List System. Agencies may not award contracts or other work to companies, individuals or organizations that have been placed this list.
SIGAR makes referrals for suspension or debarment to appropriate agency SDOs on the basis of completed investigations and provides all of the documentary evidence necessary for an agency to take action. In June 2011, SIGAR enhanced its suspension and debarment program to combat procurement fraud and corruption in Afghanistan's unique contracting environment given the U.S. government's Afghan First policy, which seeks to build Afghan capacity and foster economic development by awarding contracts to Afghan entities. The policy, an important step in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, poses particular challenges to oversight because U.S. law enforcement agencies have no jurisdiction over Afghan citizens and Afghan-owned companies. SIGAR's suspension and debarment program addresses the serious challenge posed by the Afghan First policy, along with the challenges of contingency contracting conditions in Afghanistan, such as the need to act quickly and the vetting challenges inherent in the use of multiple tiers of subcontractors, many of which are locally owned and operated.