B-182606, DEC 4, 1974

B-182606: Dec 4, 1974

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THE COMPANY IS NOT REQUIRED AS A MATTER OF LAW TO FOLLOW OUR DECISIONS CONCERNING THE LEGALITY OF ITS EXPENDITURES. HENCE PROTESTS INVOLVING THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY'S PROCUREMENTS ARE NOT CONSIDERED BY GAO. 31 U.S.C. 71 GIVES AUTHORITY TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TO SETTLE AND ADJUST ALL ACCOUNTS IN WHICH THE UNITED STATES IS CONCERNED. THE COMPANY IS NOT REQUIRED AS A MATTER OF LAW TO FOLLOW OUR DECISIONS INTERPRETING THE LEGALITY OF ITS EXPENDITURES. OUR INTERIM BID PROTEST PROCEDURES AND STANDARDS PUBLISHED AT PART 20 OF TITLE 4 OF THE CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS PROVIDE ONLY FOR PROTESTS AGAINST PROPOSED AWARDS OR AWARDS OF CONTRACTS BY OR FOR AN AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHOSE ACCOUNTS ARE SUBJECT TO SETTLEMENT BY THE GAO.

B-182606, DEC 4, 1974

SINCE THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY HAS AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE THE CHARACTER OF AND NECESSITY FOR ITS OBLIGATIONS AND EXPENDITURES AND THE MANNER IN WHICH THEY SHALL BE INCURRED, ALLOWED AND PAID AS WELL AS TO INCUR, ALLOW AND PAY SAME, THE COMPANY IS NOT REQUIRED AS A MATTER OF LAW TO FOLLOW OUR DECISIONS CONCERNING THE LEGALITY OF ITS EXPENDITURES, INCLUDING OUR BID PROTEST DETERMINATIONS. HENCE PROTESTS INVOLVING THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY'S PROCUREMENTS ARE NOT CONSIDERED BY GAO.

MURRAY AND TREGURTHA DIVISION OF MATHEWSON CORPORATION:

BY TELEGRAM DATED NOVEMBER 1, 1974, MURRAY AND TREGURTHA DIVISION OF MATHEWSON CORPORATION PROTESTS AN ALLEGED DETERMINATION BY THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY TO PROCURE A NEW TUG BOAT ON A SOLE SOURCE BASIS FROM A GERMAN COMPANY.

THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE DERIVES ITS AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE BID PROTESTS THROUGH THE "BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT, 1921" (42 STAT. 20) AS CODIFIED IN TITLE 3 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE; MORE SPECIFICALLY, 31 U.S.C. 71 GIVES AUTHORITY TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TO SETTLE AND ADJUST ALL ACCOUNTS IN WHICH THE UNITED STATES IS CONCERNED, EITHER AS DEBTOR OR CREDITOR.

SECTION 65 OF TITLE 2 OF THE PANAMA CANAL ZONE CODE (76A STAT. 11 (1962)) SETS FORTH IN PART THE GENERAL POWERS OF THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY AS FOLLOWS:

"(A) THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY MAY:

"(3) SUE AND BE USED IN ITS CORPORATE NAME,

"(5) DETERMINE THE CHARACTER OF, AND NECESSITY FOR, ITS OBLIGATIONS AND EXPENDITURES AND THE MANNER IN WHICH THEY SHALL BE INCURRED, ALLOWED, AND PAID, AND INCUR, ALLOW, AND PAY THEM, ***."

IN VIEW THEREOF, THE COMPANY IS NOT REQUIRED AS A MATTER OF LAW TO FOLLOW OUR DECISIONS INTERPRETING THE LEGALITY OF ITS EXPENDITURES. ANY DETERMINATION THIS OFFICE MIGHT MAKE WITH REGARD TO A PROTEST AGAINST A PROCUREMENT ACTION BY THE COMPANY WOULD BE ADVISORY ONLY. THEREFORE WE MUST DECLINE TO RENDER A DECISION ON THE MATTER. B 171211, JANUARY 7, 1971; B-175587, APRIL 20, 1972. MOREOVER, OUR INTERIM BID PROTEST PROCEDURES AND STANDARDS PUBLISHED AT PART 20 OF TITLE 4 OF THE CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS PROVIDE ONLY FOR PROTESTS AGAINST PROPOSED AWARDS OR AWARDS OF CONTRACTS BY OR FOR AN AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHOSE ACCOUNTS ARE SUBJECT TO SETTLEMENT BY THE GAO.