B-156011, APR. 30, 1965

B-156011: Apr 30, 1965

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JR.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTERS DATED DECEMBER 29. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE INDEBTEDNESS FOR WHICH THE COLLECTION WAS MADE AROSE IN MARCH 1960. UPON A DETERMINATION THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S CLAIM WAS UNCOLLECTIBLE. IT WAS REPORTED TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON MAY 31. IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER THAT THE INDEBTEDNESS WAS TRANSMITTED HERE FOR POSSIBLE SET OFF ACTION. IT WAS INTENDED THAT THE CASE BE FORWARDED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR FURTHER COLLECTION PROCEEDINGS OR RETURNED TO THE CORPS FOR HANDLING DIRECTLY WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. IT IS SAID. IN VIEW THEREOF AND THE FACT THAT SETTLEMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S CLAIM WAS MADE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.

B-156011, APR. 30, 1965

TO LIEUTENANT GENERAL WALTER K. WILSON, JR.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTERS DATED DECEMBER 29, 1964, AND APRIL 6, 1965, FILE ENGEC-FA, FROM THE ENGINEER COMPTROLLER, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, ACKNOWLEDGED APRIL 14, WHICH REQUEST FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THE DEPOSIT ACTION TAKEN BY THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN CONNECTION WITH $4,795.90 RECEIVED IN SETTLEMENT OF DAMAGES TO CORPS OF ENGINEERS PROPERTY.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE INDEBTEDNESS FOR WHICH THE COLLECTION WAS MADE AROSE IN MARCH 1960, AND REPRESENTS DAMAGE TO CORPS OF ENGINEERS VESSELS AND MOORING STRUCTURES IN THE MISSOURI RIVER AT NAPOLEON, MISSOURI, CAUSED BY THE MISSOURI RIVER BARGE LINES, INC., AND THE ARROW TRANSPORTATION COMPANY. UPON A DETERMINATION THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S CLAIM WAS UNCOLLECTIBLE, IT WAS REPORTED TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON MAY 31, 1961, FOR FURTHER COLLECTION ACTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH 4 GAO 5050.20.

THEREAFTER, OUR CLAIMS DIVISION REPORTED THE MATTER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR APPROPRIATE COLLECTION ACTION. UPON RECEIPT OF THE COLLECTION FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE CLAIMS DIVISION DEPOSITED THE FUNDS INTO THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF "053060 REFUND OF ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS" RATHER THAN TO THE ACCOUNT "96X4902 REVOLVING FUND, CORPS OF ENGINEERS" INDICATED IN THE PAPERS ACCOMPANYING THE CORPS TRANSMITTAL LETTER.

IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER THAT THE INDEBTEDNESS WAS TRANSMITTED HERE FOR POSSIBLE SET OFF ACTION. IN THE EVENT SUCH ACTION COULD NOT BE ACCOMPLISHED, IT WAS INTENDED THAT THE CASE BE FORWARDED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR FURTHER COLLECTION PROCEEDINGS OR RETURNED TO THE CORPS FOR HANDLING DIRECTLY WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. IN EITHER EVENT, IT IS SAID, THE TERMS OF 4 GAO 5050.30F EXCEPTED THE ITEM FROM THE GENERAL DEBT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS OF 4 GAO 5050.20 BECAUSE IT AROSE OUT OF A MARITIME TORT. IN VIEW THEREOF AND THE FACT THAT SETTLEMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S CLAIM WAS MADE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE PROVISIONS OF 4 GAO 5060.10 RELATING TO THE DEPOSIT OF COLLECTIONS MADE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS ARE NOT APPLICABLE. HENCE, IT IS REQUESTED THAT ADJUSTMENT OF THE DEPOSIT BE MADE WITH A VIEW OF CREDITING THE COLLECTION TO THE CITED REVOLVING FUND.

WHILE 4 GAO 5050.30F EXCEPTS DEBTS ARISING OUT OF TORTIOUS ACTS FROM THE GENERAL REQUIREMENTS TO REPORT DEBTS DUE THE UNITED STATES TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR FURTHER COLLECTION ACTION, IT DOES NOT PRECLUDE THE REPORTING OF SUCH DEBTS WHEN IT IS BELIEVED THAT COLLECTION MAY BE ACCOMPLISHED BY OUR OFFICE THROUGH MEANS AVAILABLE TO IT. THE GOVERNMENT'S CLAIM AGAINST MISSOURI RIVER BARGE LINES, INC., AND ARROW TRANSPORTATION COMPANY FOR DAMAGES TO ENGINEER CORPS PROPERTY WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED UNCOLLECTIBLE AND REPORTED HERE FOR COLLECTION. WHEN COLLECTION WAS MADE, IT WAS DEPOSITED TO THE CREDIT OF "053060 REFUND OF ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS.'

THE DEPOSIT OF THE COLLECTION AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR LETTER TO HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES, B 138706, DATED MAY 13, 1963. THIS LETTER PROVIDES THAT EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1963, ALL COLLECTIONS MADE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON DEBTS, REPORTED AS BEING ADMINISTRATIVELY UNCOLLECTIBLE, INVOLVING APPROPRIATION OR FUND ACCOUNTS OTHER THAN TRUST OR DEPOSIT FUND ACCOUNTS WILL BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY BY OUR OFFICE AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. THE LETTER PROVIDES FURTHER THAT COLLECTIONS APPLICABLE TO SAID TRUST OR DEPOSIT FUND ACCOUNTS WILL BE DEPOSITED DIRECTLY INTO THE TREASURY WITH APPROPRIATE CREDIT TO THE APPLICABLE FUND ACCOUNT.

THE POLICY ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE OF DEPOSITING COLLECTIONS, ON ACCOUNT OF UNCOLLECTIBLE DEBTS MADE BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FOR OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, TO THE CREDIT OF MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS NOTWITHSTANDING AUTHORITY OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES CONCERNED TO OTHERWISE MAKE USE OF THE COLLECTIONS WAS ADOPTED AS A MATTER OF ACCOUNTING CONVENIENCE AND ECONOMY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE AUTHORITY OF SECTION 1 (C) OF THE ACT OF JULY 25, 1956, 70 STAT. 648, 31 U.S.C. 701 (C). THAT SECTION PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, THAT "* * * ANY COLLECTION MADE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES MAY BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS.' SEE LETTER TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR B-138706, NOVEMBER 29, 1963, COPY ATTACHED.

A REVIEW OF THE FISCAL STATUS OF THE ACCOUNTS "96X4902 REVOLVING FUND, CORPS OF ENGINEERS" AND ,96X3123 OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE, GENERAL, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, CIVIL," DURING THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, DISCLOSES NO APPARENT BASIS OR NEED WHICH WOULD JUSTIFY MAKING AN EXCEPTION TO THE PRESENT POLICY WITH REFERENCE TO THE DISPOSITION OF COLLECTIONS BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON ACCOUNT OF DEBTS REPORTED BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AS UNCOLLECTIBLE.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN DEPOSITING THE COLLECTION OF $4,795.90 INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS MUST BE ADHERED TO, AND THAT ADJUSTMENT OF THE AMOUNT TO THE CREDIT OF THE CITED REVOLVING FUND MAY NOT BE APPROVED.