Red Flag: Vague, Ambiguous or Incomplete Specifications

Project officials can deliberately draft inadequate bid specifications in order to facilitate the selection of a favored bidder, often as part of an unbalanced bidding scheme.  In this scheme, project officials leak helpful information to a favored bidder while withholding such information from other bidders, usually as the result of corruption.

For example, in a project to rebuild a telecommunications network, the bid specifications did not address whether the bidders could employ the usable infrastructure that remained from the old network (which most bidders thought was unlikely), or if bidders would be responsible for maintenance, as was standard in such contracts.  At the same time, project officials privately informed the favored bidder, a small, marginally qualified company, that it could use the existing infrastructure and would not be responsible for maintenance, allowing it to reduce its bid price, gain a huge competitive advantage and win the contract.

This red flag can indicate the following schemes:

Click on the schemes listed above to see more information on each scheme, a more complete listing of their red flags and steps to determine if the schemes are actually present.