B-129259, MAR. 15, 1957

B-129259: Mar 15, 1957

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AUDITOR OF FREIGHT RECEIPTS: WE HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 24. AN EXHAUSTIVE SEARCH WAS MADE OF THE RETAINED RECORDS OF CAMP SHELBY. 320 WAS PREPARED FROM THE RETAINED RECORDS OF CAMP HOOD. IT WAS APPARENTLY IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN THE SIGNATURE OF EITHER THE ISSUING OFFICER OR THE CONSIGNEE. YOU STATED THAT YOU WERE UNABLE TO FURNISH EITHER THE ORIGINAL OR A PHOTOSTATIC COPY OF THE SIGNED DELIVERY RECEIPT. IN WHICH THE SHIPMENT WAS LOADED. THE COPY OF THE WHEEL REPORT IS NOT PART OF THE RECORD HERE. THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT IT WAS EVER RECEIVED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. IT IS NOT NOW IN THE FILES OF THAT ESTABLISHMENT. THAT THIS SHIPMENT OF IMPEDIMENTA WAS MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE ONE-WAY TRANSPORTATION OF 21 ENLISTED MEN AND ROUND TRIP OF ONE OFFICER.

B-129259, MAR. 15, 1957

TO MR. E. KECH, AUDITOR OF FREIGHT RECEIPTS:

WE HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 24, 1956, FILE CRB-108-PASSENGER-R, RELATIVE TO YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL CRB-108-PASS., IN THE AMOUNT OF $71.52.

OUR RECORD OF THIS CASE SHOWS THAT, IN JUNE 1953, AT THE REQUEST OF THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF TRANSPORTATION, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, AN EXHAUSTIVE SEARCH WAS MADE OF THE RETAINED RECORDS OF CAMP SHELBY, MISSISSIPPI, CAMP HOOD, TEXAS, THE HEADQUARTERS REPLACEMENT AND SCHOOL COMMAND, AND THE THIRD ARMY, IN AN EFFORT TO SECURE INFORMATION ON WHICH TO ISSUE AND ACCOMPLISH A CERTIFICATE IN LIEU OF LOST BILL OF LADING WV- 8,533,320. ALLEGEDLY, THIS BILL OF LADING COVERED A SHIPMENT OF 111 PACKAGES OF MILITARY IMPEDIMENTS, WEIGHING 3,781 POUNDS, SHIPPED FROM KILLEEN, TEXAS, TO CAMP SHELBY, MISSISSIPPI, ON JANUARY 10, 1946. WHILE A CERTIFICATE IN LIEU OF LOST BILL OF LADING WV-8,533,320 WAS PREPARED FROM THE RETAINED RECORDS OF CAMP HOOD, IT WAS APPARENTLY IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN THE SIGNATURE OF EITHER THE ISSUING OFFICER OR THE CONSIGNEE.

IN YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 24, 1954, TO THE SECOND TRANSPORTATION ZONE OFFICER, YOU STATED THAT YOU WERE UNABLE TO FURNISH EITHER THE ORIGINAL OR A PHOTOSTATIC COPY OF THE SIGNED DELIVERY RECEIPT, SINCE YOUR ONLY RECEIPT FOR THE SHIPMENT HAD BEEN THAT ON THE ORIGINAL BILL OF LADING. YOU FURTHER STATED THAT ON AUGUST 18, 1950, IN COMPLIANCE WITH A REQUEST FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF TRANSPORTATION, YOU FURNISHED A CERTIFIED TRUE COPY OF THE WHEEL REPORT ON CAR ATSF-4262, IN WHICH THE SHIPMENT WAS LOADED. THE COPY OF THE WHEEL REPORT IS NOT PART OF THE RECORD HERE. THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT IT WAS EVER RECEIVED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, AND IT IS NOT NOW IN THE FILES OF THAT ESTABLISHMENT. IN JUNE OF 1954 YOU SUBMITTED A PHOTOSTAT OF THE SHIPPING ORDER COPY OF BILL OF LADING WV-8,533,320, WHICH SHOWS RECEIPT OF THE GOODS BY THE AGENT OF THE INITIAL CARRIER, THE GULF, COLORADO AND SANTA FE RAILWAY COMPANY. BECAUSE OF THE ABSENCE OF PROOF OF DELIVERY TO THE CONSIGNEE AT DESTINATION, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY TRANSMITTED THE ENTIRE FILE HERE WITHOUT A RECOMMENDATION FOR PAYMENT.

YOU THEREUPON PREPARED AND SUBMITTED FOR PAYMENT YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL CRB-108-PASS., AND INFORMED OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION, BY LETTER OF JANUARY 11, 1955, THAT THIS SHIPMENT OF IMPEDIMENTA WAS MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE ONE-WAY TRANSPORTATION OF 21 ENLISTED MEN AND ROUND TRIP OF ONE OFFICER, FROM KILLEEN, TEXAS, TO CAMP SHELBY, ON TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WQ-21,966,888 AND 21,966,889, AND THAT THE IMPEDIMENTA WAS CONTAINED WITH CHECKABLE BAGGAGE IN A BAGGAGE CAR.

IN THE HOPE THAT EVIDENCE OF DELIVERY MIGHT BE FOUND, OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION SECURED THESE PAID TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS AND REQUESTED THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY MAKE ANOTHER SEARCH OF ITS RECORDS. THIS SEARCH ALSO WAS FRUITLESS, AND THE RECORD PERTAINING TO THE TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS IS DEVOID OF ANY REFERENCE TO THE SHIPMENT OF IMPEDIMENTA.

THE BURDEN IS ON CLAIMANTS TO PROVE THEIR CLAIMS (18 COMP. GEN. 980; 17 ID. 831). THE ORIGINAL BILL OF LADING, WITH THE CONSIGNEE'S CERTIFICATE OF DELIVERY PROPERLY ACCOMPLISHED, IS THE EVIDENCE ORDINARILY REQUIRED TO SUPPORT PAYMENT. SEE INSTRUCTION NO. 2 ON THE BACK OF THE GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING, STANDARD FORM NO. 1058 (8 COMP. GEN. 698), AND THE SUPERSEDING ISSUE, STANDARD FORM NO. 1103 (22 COMP. GEN. 1177). WHERE THE ABSENCE OF THIS PROOF IS CONVINCINGLY EXPLAINED, OTHER EVIDENCE COMPETENTLY ESTABLISHING THE RIGHT TO PAYMENT MAY BE ACCEPTED. SEE PARAGRAPH 5, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 69 (8 COMP. GEN. 695), AND PARAGRAPH 9 OF GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 97 (22 COMP. GEN. 1172).

IN THIS CASE, HOWEVER, THERE HAS BEEN NO EXPLANATION OF YOUR INABILITY TO PRODUCE THE ORIGINAL BILL OF LADING; YOU HAVE NOT OFFERED ANY EVIDENCE OF DELIVERY SUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY PAYMENT; AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE IS UNABLE TO LOCATE ANY EVIDENCE OF DELIVERY. THE SHIPMENT MOVED IN JANUARY OF 1946; YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 22, 1954, SUGGESTS THAT YOU FIRST ENDEAVORED TO SECURE AN ACCOMPLISHED CERTIFICATE IN LIEU OF LOST BILL OF LADING IN JUNE 1950; THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OF THE 4 1/2 YEAR DELAY IN SEEKING THIS DOCUMENT. MORE TIMELY ACTION ON YOUR PART MIGHT HAVE RESULTED IN SECURING THE REQUIRED INFORMATION PRIOR TO THE DESTRUCTION OF BOTH GOVERNMENT AND CARRIER RECORDS. AS PRESENTED, THE RECORD DOES NOT ESTABLISH BY SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE THE LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE CHARGES CLAIMED. IN THE ABSENCE OF THIS EVIDENCE, WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF YOUR BILL. SEE CHARLES V. UNITED STATES, 19 C.CLS. 316; LONGWILL V. UNITED STATES, 17 C.CLS. 288. ..END :