B-141167, JANUARY 29, 1960, 39 COMP. GEN. 548

B-141167: Jan 29, 1960

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INTERAGENCY SERVICES - VOUCHER CERTIFICATION AND DOCUMENTATION - CERTIFYING OFFICER A CERTIFICATION ON A VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR SERVICES AND MATERIALS PERFORMED UNDER AN INTERAGENCY AGREEMENT WHEN THE VOUCHER IS NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE THAT THE SERVICES AND MATERIALS ORDERED WERE FURNISHED AND ACCEPTED WOULD BE MEANINGLESS AND NOT WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29. WHICH MAKES IT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE CERTIFYING A VOUCHER TO INSURE THAT THE FACTS STATED OR CERTIFIED ARE CORRECT AND THAT THE PROPOSED PAYMENT IS LAWFUL UNDER THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND CHARGEABLE. ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS WHO HAVE AUTHORITY TO INCUR OBLIGATIONS AGAINST THE DEPARTMENT'S FUNDS HAVE A DUTY TO DETERMINE IN THE FIRST INSTANCE WHETHER SERVICES AND MATERIALS ORDERED ARE NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE WORK UNDER INTERAGENCY AGREEMENTS AND WHETHER THE AMOUNT FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS CLAIMED IS THAT AGREED UPON.

B-141167, JANUARY 29, 1960, 39 COMP. GEN. 548

INTERAGENCY SERVICES - VOUCHER CERTIFICATION AND DOCUMENTATION - CERTIFYING OFFICER A CERTIFICATION ON A VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR SERVICES AND MATERIALS PERFORMED UNDER AN INTERAGENCY AGREEMENT WHEN THE VOUCHER IS NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE THAT THE SERVICES AND MATERIALS ORDERED WERE FURNISHED AND ACCEPTED WOULD BE MEANINGLESS AND NOT WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, 31 U.S.C. 82C, WHICH MAKES IT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE CERTIFYING A VOUCHER TO INSURE THAT THE FACTS STATED OR CERTIFIED ARE CORRECT AND THAT THE PROPOSED PAYMENT IS LAWFUL UNDER THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND CHARGEABLE. ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS WHO HAVE AUTHORITY TO INCUR OBLIGATIONS AGAINST THE DEPARTMENT'S FUNDS HAVE A DUTY TO DETERMINE IN THE FIRST INSTANCE WHETHER SERVICES AND MATERIALS ORDERED ARE NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE WORK UNDER INTERAGENCY AGREEMENTS AND WHETHER THE AMOUNT FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS CLAIMED IS THAT AGREED UPON, ALTHOUGH CHARGES FOR INTERAGENCY SERVICES BASED UPON THE COST OF RENDITION DO NOT HAVE TO BE AUDITED BY THE REQUISITIONING AGENCY IN ORDER TO DETERMINE THE CORRECTNESS OF THE CHARGES. UNDER AN INTERAGENCY AGREEMENT WHICH PROVIDES THAT THE REQUISITIONING AGENCY BE KEPT INFORMED OF THE PROGRESS MADE BY THE PERFORMING AGENCY IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROJECT, OFFICERS OF THE REQUISITIONING AGENCY SHOULD, IF THE REQUIREMENT IS COMPLIED WITH, BE IN A POSITION TO CERTIFY THAT THE SERVICES AND MATERIALS ORDERED WERE FURNISHED AND ACCEPTED AND THAT PAYMENT IS PROPER SO THAT THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION AND CERTIFICATION OF VOUCHERS CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED.

TO H. R. FATZINGER, NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION, JANUARY 29, 1960:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 3, 1959, TRANSMITTING A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF THE COMMANDING GENERAL, AOMC, REDSTONE ARSENAL, ALABAMA, STATED IN THE AMOUNT OF $25,000. YOU REQUEST A DECISION AS TO WHETHER, UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER RELATED, YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO CERTIFY THE VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT.

IT APPEARS THAT BY LETTER OF FEBRUARY 26, 1959, FROM THE ACTING DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION, TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER, ARMY BALLISTIC MISSILE AGENCY, HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA, IT WAS AGREED TO MAKE AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, ON A REIMBURSABLE BASIS, THE SUM OF $25,000 FOR " MICROMETER DETECTION IN THE INTERNATIONAL GEOPHYSICAL YEAR EARTH SATELLITE PROGRAM" TO BE PERFORMED UNDER DIRECTION OF THE ARMY BALLISTIC MISSILE AGENCY. THE VOUCHER REPRESENTS A CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH SUM AND COVERS THE DIRECT LABOR AND MATERIALS, SUPPORT COSTS, AND INDIRECT COSTS INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE WORK.

YOU EXPRESS DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF PAYING THE VOUCHER FOR THE REASON THAT IT CONTAINS "NO STATEMENT OR CERTIFICATION TO THE EFFECT THAT THE SUPPLIES AND SERVICES THEREIN HAVE BEEN RECEIVED AND RENDERED IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARRANGEMENTS MADE BETWEEN THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION AND THE ARMY BALLISTIC MISSILE AGENCY.' ALSO, YOU EXPLAIN THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SECURE SUCH A STATEMENT FROM ANY OFFICIAL OF THE FOUNDATION CONCERNED WITH THE INTERNATIONAL GEOPHYSICAL YEAR PROGRAM. THESE OFFICIALS, YOU SAY, MAINTAIN THEY ARE IN NO POSITION TO KNOW THAT THE WORK PERFORMED UNDER THE AGREEMENT AND THE SUM CLAIMED THEREFOR, WHICH WORK IS OF AN INTANGIBLE NATURE, I.E., SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, WAS ACTUALLY RENDERED OR THE MATERIALS FURNISHED.

SECTION 11 OF THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION ACT OF 1950, 42 U.S.C. 1870, SETS FORTH THE GENERAL AUTHORITY OF THE FOUNDATION, WITHIN THE LIMITS OF AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS, TO DO ALL THINGS NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT. SUBSECTION (I) THEREOF AUTHORIZES THE FOUNDATION "TO PRESCRIBE, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, THE EXTENT TO WHICH VOUCHERS FOR FUNDS EXPENDED UNDER CONTRACTS FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH SHALL BE SUBJECT TO ITEMIZATION OF SUBSTANTIATION PRIOR TO PAYMENT, WITHOUT REGARD TO THE LIMITATIONS OF OTHER LAWS RELATING TO THE EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS AND ACCOUNTING THEREFOR.' TO OUR KNOWLEDGE THE FOUNDATION HAS SUBMITTED NO PROCEDURES FOR VOUCHERING AND DOCUMENTING EXPENDITURES FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR APPROVAL.

AS STATED IN YOUR LETTER, 7 GAO 4070 CONCERNING REIMBURSEMENTS BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES PROVIDES UNDER SUBSECTION 4070.20A THAT A SOUND RECEIVING SYSTEM TO VERIFY THE RECEIPT OF SUPPLIES, MATERIALS, AND SERVICES SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED EVEN IF SUCH ITEMS ARE FURNISHED BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY. AND 7 GAO 4040.20 REQUIRES, AS A PREREQUISITE TO PAYMENT OF STANDARD FORM NO. 1080- REVISED," VOUCHER FOR TRANSFERS BETWEEN APPROPRIATIONS AND/OR FUNDS," CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER BY AN AUTHORIZED ADMINISTRATIVE OR CERTIFYING OFFICER IN THE OFFICE BILLED OF THE RECEIPT AND ACCEPTANCE OF THE ARTICLES FURNISHED OR SERVICES RENDERED BY THE BILLING AGENCY.

SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, 55 STAT. 875, 31 U.S.C. 82C, MAKES IT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE CERTIFYING A VOUCHER TO ENSURE THAT THE FACTS STATED OR CERTIFIED ARE CORRECT AND THAT THE PROPOSED PAYMENT IS LAWFUL UNDER THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND CHARGEABLE THEREWITH. SEE 22 COMP. GEN. 48; 23 ID. 181, 953; 33 ID. 650. IT IS CLEAR UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER IN QUESTION FOR PAYMENT, UNSUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE THAT THE SERVICES AND MATERIALS ORDERED WERE FURNISHED AND ACCEPTED, IS NOT CONTEMPLATED BY THE STATUTE, WOULD MERELY BE A MATTER OF FORM AND MEANINGLESS AND, THEREFORE, SUCH CERTIFICATION IS NOT AUTHORIZED. SEE 23 COMP. GEN. 181.

IT MAY BE STATED THAT IT IS THE DUTY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS OF THE DEPARTMENT INVOLVED HAVING AUTHORITY TO INCUR OBLIGATIONS AGAINST THE DEPARTMENT'S FUNDS TO DETERMINE IN THE FIRST INSTANCE WHETHER THE SERVICES AND MATERIALS ORDERED WERE NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THE WORK INVOLVED, AND WHETHER THE AMOUNT FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS CLAIMED IS THAT AGREED UPON. AND IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT CHARGES FOR INTERAGENCY REIMBURSABLE SERVICES--- BASED UPON THE COST OF RENDITION--- NEED NOT BE AUDITED BY THE REQUISITIONING AGENCY IN ORDER TO DETERMINE THE CORRECTNESS THEREOF. SEE 32 COMP. GEN. 479.

THE REFERRED-TO LETTER OF FEBRUARY 26, 1959, A COPY OF WHICH ACCOMPANIED YOUR LETTER, CONTAINS A REQUEST THAT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION "BE KEPT INFORMED OF THE PROGRESS MADE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY IN CONNECTION WITH THIS PROJECT.' IF THE REQUEST WERE COMPLIED WITH, SOMEONE IN THE FOUNDATION SHOULD BE IN A POSITION TO CERTIFY THEREFROM THAT THE SERVICES AND MATERIALS ORDERED WERE FURNISHED AND ACCEPTED, AND THAT PAYMENT THEREFOR IS PROPER. ON THE OTHER HAND, IF THE REQUEST WERE NOT COMPLIED WITH AN EFFORT SHOULD BE MADE TO OBTAIN THE PROGRESS REPORTS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY WITH THE VIEW OF MAKING THE NECESSARY DETERMINATION.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT, ON THE PRESENT RECORD, CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED. THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH.