B-112539, NOVEMBER 13, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 238

B-112539: Nov 13, 1952

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TELEGRAMS - EVIDENCE REQUIRED FOR PAYMENT CLAIMS AGAINST GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FOR OUTGOING TELEGRAPHIC MESSAGES ARE REQUIRED TO BE SUPPORTED BY THE ORIGINALS OF THE MESSAGES TRANSMITTED. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 22. RELATIVE TO YOUR CLAIM FOR $9.98 FOR TELEGRAPHIC SERVICES ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN FURNISHED THE MOSES LAKE AIR BASE. THE CLAIM CONSISTS OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS FOR TELEGRAPHIC MESSAGES ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN SENT: APR. 2. YOUR PRESENT LETTER WILL BE CONSIDERED AS A REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF THAT ACTION. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE OF YOUR FAILURE TO FURNISH COPIES OF THE ORIGINAL MESSAGES. YOU INDICATED THAT YOUR MANAGER AT MOSES LAKE SUBMITTED THE BILL WITH THE ORIGINAL MESSAGES ATTACHED THERETO TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER AT MOSES LAKE AND YOU STATED THAT COPIES OF THE MESSAGES WERE NOT AVAILABLE.

B-112539, NOVEMBER 13, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 238

TELEGRAMS - EVIDENCE REQUIRED FOR PAYMENT CLAIMS AGAINST GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FOR OUTGOING TELEGRAPHIC MESSAGES ARE REQUIRED TO BE SUPPORTED BY THE ORIGINALS OF THE MESSAGES TRANSMITTED, WHICH SHOULD BE THE WIRE OR TRANSMISSION COPIES, SHOWING THEREON THE COMPANY NOTATIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE TIME FILED, THE NUMBER OF WORDS, AND OTHER INFORMATION NECESSARY TO COMPUTE THE TRANSMISSION CHARGES FOR THE SERVICES ACTUALLY RENDERED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE WESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH COMPANY, NOVEMBER 13, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 22, 1952, RELATIVE TO YOUR CLAIM FOR $9.98 FOR TELEGRAPHIC SERVICES ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN FURNISHED THE MOSES LAKE AIR BASE, MOSES LAKE, WASHINGTON, IN APRIL 1949.

THE CLAIM CONSISTS OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS FOR TELEGRAPHIC MESSAGES ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN SENT:

APR. 2, VALLEY HEAD, ALA-------------------------- $4.10

APR. 7, CHICAGO, ILL------------------------------- 2.31

APR. 7, BISMARCK, N. DAK------------------------- 1.08

APR. 7, DUNSMUIR, CALIF--------------------------- 2.49

THE AMOUNT CLAIMED, ALTHOUGH APPARENTLY PRESENTED BY YOUR LETTER AS AN ORIGINAL CLAIM, PREVIOUSLY HAD BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE AND DISALLOWED BY SETTLEMENT CERTIFICATE 2049290 DATED JULY 16, 1952. HENCE, YOUR PRESENT LETTER WILL BE CONSIDERED AS A REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF THAT ACTION.

THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE OF YOUR FAILURE TO FURNISH COPIES OF THE ORIGINAL MESSAGES. IN YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 12, 1952, TO THE MANAGER OF THE POST COMMUNICATION SERVICE AT MOSES LAKE AIR BASE, YOU INDICATED THAT YOUR MANAGER AT MOSES LAKE SUBMITTED THE BILL WITH THE ORIGINAL MESSAGES ATTACHED THERETO TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER AT MOSES LAKE AND YOU STATED THAT COPIES OF THE MESSAGES WERE NOT AVAILABLE. HOWEVER, THE RECORD FAILS TO SUPPORT YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE ORIGINAL MESSAGES WERE SUBMITTED.

IT IS A WELL ESTABLISHED ACCOUNTING PRACTICE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO REQUIRE IN SUPPORT OF CLAIMS FOR TELEGRAPHIC SERVICES THE ORIGINALS OF THE MESSAGES TRANSMITTED. YOUR COMPANY HAS RECOGNIZED THAT REQUIREMENT AND HAS ISSUED ITS OWN REGULATION TO THE EFFECT THAT ITS CLAIMS AGAINST GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES FOR OUTGOING MESSAGES MUST BE SUPPORTED BY THE ORIGINAL MESSAGES. THE BASIC REASON FOR THE REQUIREMENT IS TO INSURE THAT THE CHARGES FOR TRANSMISSION ARE CORRECTLY COMPUTED FOR THE SERVICES ACTUALLY RENDERED AND TO PREVENT DUPLICATING PAYMENT OF SUCH CHARGES. WHILE CONFUSION MAY SOMETIMES ARISE AS TO WHAT CONSTITUTES AN ORIGINAL WITHIN THE RULE, THE PURPOSE OF IT IS BEST ACCOMPLISHED BY THE SUBMISSION OF COPIES OF THE TELEGRAMS USED FOR TRANSMISSION, SHOWING THEREON THE COMPANY NOTATIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE TIME FILED, THE NUMBER OF WORDS, ETC., SUCH COPIES BEING COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS WIRE OR TRANSMISSION COPIES.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE RECORD FAILS TO SUPPORT YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE REQUIRED COPIES WERE FURNISHED BY YOU, THERE IS NOT LEGAL BASIS FOR ALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM AND THE DISALLOWANCE OF IT IS, THEREFORE, SUSTAINED.