B-141680, JAN. 25, 1960

B-141680: Jan 25, 1960

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THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BY COMMERCIAL AIR FROM KABUL TO KARACHI. REIMBURSEMENT WAS ALLOWED ON THE BASIS OF CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL VIA THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AND NEW YORK. YOU CONTEND THAT THE COMPUTATION OF THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL VIA THE ATLANTIC IS IN ERROR IN THAT THE FLIGHT OF ARIANA AIRLINES FROM KABUL TO BEIRUT. WAS A SUBSTANDARD CARGO FLIGHT ON WHICH GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WERE NOT REQUIRED TO TRAVEL AND THAT THE USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE FROM KABUL TO BEIRUT IS BY WAY OF KARACHI. WE HAVE ASCERTAINED FROM INFORMATION AVAILABLE IN OUR OFFICE AND FROM INFORMAL INQUIRY WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND A COMMERCIAL AIRLINE THAT TRAVEL ON THE ARIANA DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND A COMMERCIAL AIRLINE THAT TRAVEL ON THE ARIANA FLIGHT FROM KABUL TO BEIRUT IS NOT REQUIRED OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES FOR THE REASONS YOU HAVE STATED.

B-141680, JAN. 25, 1960

TO MR. ROBERT J. PIERCE:

ON DECEMBER 29, 1959, YOU REQUESTED REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF OCTOBER 27, 1959, WHICH DISALLOWED A PART OF YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED UPON YOUR TRANSFER FROM KABUL, AFGHANISTAN, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., WITH HOME LEAVE IN ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, AND DISALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT FOR SHIPMENT OF YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BY FOREIGN FLAG VESSEL FROM DAGENHAM DOCKS, ENGLAND, TO SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.

THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BY COMMERCIAL AIR FROM KABUL TO KARACHI, PAKISTAN, BY SEA TO SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, AND BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE TO ALBUQUERQUE. REIMBURSEMENT WAS ALLOWED ON THE BASIS OF CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL VIA THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AND NEW YORK, RESULTING IN PAYMENT TO YOU OF LESS THAN YOUR ACTUAL EXPENSES.

YOU CONTEND THAT THE COMPUTATION OF THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL VIA THE ATLANTIC IS IN ERROR IN THAT THE FLIGHT OF ARIANA AIRLINES FROM KABUL TO BEIRUT, LEBANON, USED IN THE COMPUTATION, WAS A SUBSTANDARD CARGO FLIGHT ON WHICH GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WERE NOT REQUIRED TO TRAVEL AND THAT THE USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE FROM KABUL TO BEIRUT IS BY WAY OF KARACHI, PAKISTAN. WE HAVE ASCERTAINED FROM INFORMATION AVAILABLE IN OUR OFFICE AND FROM INFORMAL INQUIRY WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND A COMMERCIAL AIRLINE THAT TRAVEL ON THE ARIANA DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND A COMMERCIAL AIRLINE THAT TRAVEL ON THE ARIANA FLIGHT FROM KABUL TO BEIRUT IS NOT REQUIRED OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES FOR THE REASONS YOU HAVE STATED. THEREFORE WE ARE INSTRUCTING OUR CLAIMS DIVISION TO RECOMPUTE THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL FROM KABUL TO BEIRUT VIA KARACHI AND TO ISSUE SETTLEMENT TO YOU IN THE AMOUNT FOUND DUE.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE DETERMINATION, IT DOES NOT SEEM NECESSARY, AT THIS TIME, TO MAKE A DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER YOUR TRAVEL VIA THE PACIFIC OCEAN WAS CIRCUITOUS.

THE DISALLOWANCE OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR NEWLY PURCHASED AUTOMOBILE FROM DAGENHAM DOCKS, ENGLAND, TO SAN FRANCISCO, BY A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY IS SUSTAINED BECAUSE THE SHIPMENT OF THE EFFECTS OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES ON FOREIGN VESSELS IS PRECLUDED BY SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 49 STAT. 2015, 46 U.S.C. 124 (A). THE ACT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT:

"* * * THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT CREDIT ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY THEREFOR.'

IN VIEW OF THAT WORDING OUR OFFICE HAS NO AUTHORITY TO WAIVE THE PROVISIONS OF THAT ACT EVEN THOUGH THE FAILURE TO COMPLY WAS IN NO WAY THE FAULT OF THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED.