B-173709, AUG 16, 1971

B-173709: Aug 16, 1971

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DOES NOT HAVE AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER IN QUESTION SHOULD BE REIMBURSED $20 IN RESTITUTION OF A SHORTAGE OF THAT AMOUNT IN HIS ACCOUNT. THE MATTER IS FOR THE DETERMINATION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY. TO OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE ARMY: WE ARE IN RECEIPT OF A COMMUNICATION FROM "CG USASUPCOM CRB RVN" REFERENCE P220110Z JUL 71. WHICH WAS FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE IN AN ENVELOPE FROM YOUR OFFICE WITHOUT ENDORSEMENT. THE SENDER STATES THAT HE IS THE PRESENT ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER FOR DSSN 5317. THE COMMUNICATION ALSO STATES THAT FURTHER INVESTIGATION OF THE MATTER IS IN PROGRESS. AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO ACCOUNTABLE OFFICERS IN CASES OF THIS NATURE IS CONTAINED IN 31 U.S.C. 95A.

B-173709, AUG 16, 1971

MILITARY PERSONNEL - ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER - REIMBURSEMENT FOR SHORTAGES DECISION THAT UNDER 31 U.S.C. 95A THE COMP. GEN. DOES NOT HAVE AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER IN QUESTION SHOULD BE REIMBURSED $20 IN RESTITUTION OF A SHORTAGE OF THAT AMOUNT IN HIS ACCOUNT. THE MATTER IS FOR THE DETERMINATION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY.

TO OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE ARMY:

WE ARE IN RECEIPT OF A COMMUNICATION FROM "CG USASUPCOM CRB RVN" REFERENCE P220110Z JUL 71, WHICH WAS FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE IN AN ENVELOPE FROM YOUR OFFICE WITHOUT ENDORSEMENT. THE SENDER STATES THAT HE IS THE PRESENT ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER FOR DSSN 5317, AND REQUESTS AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER HE MAY MAKE A PAYMENT TO HIS PREDECESSOR (UNNAMED) FROM HIS PREDECESSOR'S ACCOUNT IN REIMBURSEMENT OF $20 PAID TO THE GOVERNMENT BY SAID PREDECESSOR IN RESTITUTION OF A SHORTAGE OF THAT AMOUNT IN HIS ACCOUNT FOR THE MAY 1971 PAYDAY OF TROOPS. THE COMMUNICATION ALSO STATES THAT FURTHER INVESTIGATION OF THE MATTER IS IN PROGRESS.

AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO ACCOUNTABLE OFFICERS IN CASES OF THIS NATURE IS CONTAINED IN 31 U.S.C. 95A, WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"WHENEVER (1) ANY DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE, OR MARINE CORPS INCURS OR HAS INCURRED A PHYSICAL LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OF ANY GOVERNMENT FUNDS, VOUCHERS, RECORDS, OR PAPERS IN HIS CHARGE AND (2) THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED DETERMINES THAT SUCH LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OCCURRED WHILE THE OFFICER WAS IN LINE OF HIS DUTY AND THAT SUCH LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON HIS PART, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SHALL RELIEVE SUCH OFFICER OF THE LIABILITY FOR SUCH LOSS OR DEFICIENCY, OR AUTHORIZE THE REIMBURSEMENT, FROM ANY APPROPRIATION OR FUND MADE AVAILABLE FOR THAT PURPOSE, OF AMOUNTS PAID BY OR ON BEHALF OF SUCH OFFICER IN RESTITUTION OF SUCH OFFICER IN RESTITUTION OF SUCH LOSS OR DEFICIENCY. ANY DETERMINATION MADE BY THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONCLUSIVE UPON THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. *** "

SINCE WE MUST COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ABOVE STATUTE, WE CANNOT AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT IN QUESTION IN THE ABSENCE OF THE DETERMINATIONS BY THE SECRETARY REQUIRED THEREBY. HENCE, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT RESOLUTION OF THIS MATTER MUST WAIT UPON COMPLETION OF THE INVESTIGATION REFERRED TO IN THE COMMUNICATION AND THE DETERMINATION OF THE SECRETARY.

ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 28.14(3) OF TITLE 7 OF THE GAO MANUAL FOR GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES (7 GAO 28.14(3)), WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"(3) ADMINISTRATIVE RESOLUTION OF IRREGULARITIES.

"ANY IRREGULARITY AS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH 28.14(1) ARISING FROM A SINGLE INCIDENT, OR SERIES OF SIMILAR INCIDENTS OCCURRING ABOUT THE SAME TIME, AMOUNTING TO LESS THAN $150, MAY BE RESOLVED BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION APPROPRIATE TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES. SUCH CASES WILL BE PROPERLY DOCUMENTED AND AVAILABLE FOR GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE REVIEW ON A SITE AUDIT BASIS. A CENTRAL CONTROL RECORD SHALL BE MAINTAINED BY EACH DEPARTMENT AND AGENCY OF ALL SUCH ACTIONS.

"THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION DO NOT APPLY TO EXCEPTIONS OR CHARGES RAISED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE OR TO FRAUD AND UNUSUAL IRREGULARITIES REPORTED UNDER SUBPARAGRAPH 28.14(2D."

IN VIEW OF THE AMOUNT INVOLVED, THIS MATTER WOULD APPEAR TO BE FOR RESOLUTION BY ADMINISTRATVE ACTION FOLLOWING COMPLETION OF THE INVESTIGATION AND THE DETERMINATION BY THE SECRETARY.