48 CFR Appendix H to Chapter 2, Debarment and Suspension Procedures
This appendix provides uniform debarment and suspension procedures to be followed by all debarring and suspending officials.
Contractors will be notified of the proposed debarment or suspension in accordance with FAR 9.406-3 or 9.407-3. A copy of the record which formed the basis for the decision by the debarring and suspending official will be made available to the contractor. If there is a reason to withhold from the contractor any portion of the record, the contractor will be informed of what is withheld and the reasons for such withholding.
There are two distinct proceedings which may be involved in the suspension or debarment process. The first is the presentation of matters in opposition to the suspension or proposed debarment by the contractor.
The second is fact-finding which occurs only in cases in which the contractor's presentation of matters in opposition raises a genuine dispute over one or more material facts. In a suspension action based upon an indictment or in a proposed debarment action based upon a conviction or civil judgment, there will be no fact-filling proceeding concerning the matters alleged in the indictment, or the facts underlying the convictions or civil judgment. However, to the extent that the proposed action stems from the contractor's affiliation with an individual or firm indicted or convicted, or the subject of a civil judgment, fact-finding is permitted if a genuine dispute of fact is raised as to the question of affiliation as defined in FAR 9.403.
(a) In accordance with FAR 9.406-3(c) and 9.407-3(c), matters in opposition may be presented in person, in writing, or through a representative. Matters in opposition may be presented through any combination of the foregoing methods, but if a contractor desires to present matters in person or through a representative, any written material should be delivered at least 5 working days in advance of the presentation. Usually, all matters in opposition are presented in a single proceeding. A contractor who becomes aware of a pending indictment or allegations of wrongdoing that the contractor believes may lead to suspension or debarment action may contact the debarring and suspending official or designee to provide information as to the contractor's present responsibility.
(b) An in-person presentation is an informal meeting, nonadversarial in nature. The debarring and suspending official and/or other agency representatives may ask questions of the contractor or its representative making the presentation. The contractor may select the individuals who will attend the meeting on the contractor's behalf; individual respondents or principals of a business firm respondent may attend and speak for themselves.
(c) In accordance with FAR 9.406-3(c) and 9.407-3(c), the contractor may submit matters in opposition within 30 days from receipt of the notice of suspension or proposed debarment.
(d) The opportunity to present matters in opposition to debarment includes the opportunity to present matters concerning the duration of the debarment.
(a) The debarring and suspending official will determine whether the contractor's presentation has raised a genuine dispute of material fact(s). If the debarring and suspending official has decided against debarment or continued suspension, or the provisions of FAR 9.4 preclude fact-finding, no fact-finding will be conducted. If the debarring and suspending official has determined a genuine dispute of material fact(s) exists, a designated fact-finder will conduct the fact-finding proceeding. The proceeding before the fact-finder will be limited to a finding of the facts in dispute as determined by the debarring and suspending official.
(b) The designated fact-finder will establish the date for a fact-finding proceeding, normally to be held within 45 working days of the contractor's presentation of matters in opposition. An official record will be made of the fact-finding proceeding.
(c) The Government's representative and the contractor will have an opportunity to present evidence relevant to the facts at issues. The contractor may appear in person or through a representative in the fact-finding proceeding.
(d) Neither the Federal Rules of Evidence nor the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern fact-finding. Hearsay evidence may be presented and will be given appropriate weight by the fact-finder.
(e) Witnesses may testify in person. Witnesses will be reminded of the official nature of the proceeding and that any false testimony given is subject to criminal prosecution. Witnesses are subject to cross-examination.
All timing requirements set forth in these procedures may be extended by the debarring and suspending official for good cause.
(a) Written findings of fact will be prepared by the fact-finder as mandated by FAR 9.406-3(d)(2)(i) and 9.407-3(d)(2)(i).
(b) The fact-finder will determine the disputed fact(s) by a preponderance of the evidence. A copy of the findings of fact will be provided to the debarring and suspending official, the Government's representative, and the contractor.
(c) The debarring and suspending official will determine whether to continue the suspension or to debar the contractor based upon the entire administrative record, including the findings of fact.
(d) Prompt written notice of the debarring and suspending official's decision will be sent to the contractor and any affiliates involved, in compliance with FAR 9.406-3(e) and 9.407-3(d)(4).