B-188081, FEB 9, 1977

B-188081: Feb 9, 1977

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PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE THE SECRETARY OF STATE: THIS IS IN REPLY TO A LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 29. QUINN WAS WORKING UNDER EXTREMELY DIFFICULT AND STRESSFUL CONDITIONS AT THE TIME OF THE LOSS AND THAT SHE ADMITS THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE MONEY DISAPPEARED DURING A PERIOD WHEN SHE WAS AWAY FROM HER DESK. WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS: "THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS AUTHORIZED. OR PAPERS IN HIS CHARGE * * * IF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT DETERMINES (1) THAT SUCH LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OCCURRED WHILE SUCH OFFICER OR AGENT WAS ACTING IN THE DISCHARGE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES. QUINN'S POSSESSION WERE MISSING. QUINN OR HER SUBORDINATE WAS ACTING IN THE DISCHARGE OF HER OFFICIAL DUTIES.

B-188081, FEB 9, 1977

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

THE SECRETARY OF STATE:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO A LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 29, 1976, FROM ROBERT E. LAMB, DIRECTOR, FINANCIAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FORWARDED TO US BY JAMES C. ABBOTT, CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, THAT RELIEF BE GRANTED IN THE AMOUNT OF 500 ZAIRES (U.S.C. $1K015.84) FOR LUCY D. QUINN, A CLASS "B" CASHIER AT THE AMERICAN EMBASSY, KINSHASA, ZAIRE.

THE INFORMATION SUBMITTED CONTAINS FEW FACTS AS TO HOW THE LOSS OCCURRED. THE SUBMISSION STATES:

"THE INVESTIGATION CONDUCTED BY THE EMBASSY FAILED TO PROVIDE ANY INFORMATION WHICH WOULD INDICATE HOW THE LOSS OCCURRED * * * (AND) DID NOT INDICATE ANY MALFEASANCE OR NEGLIGENCE BY MS. QUINN."

THE ONLY ADDITIONAL FACTS OFFERED INDICATE THAT MS. QUINN WAS WORKING UNDER EXTREMELY DIFFICULT AND STRESSFUL CONDITIONS AT THE TIME OF THE LOSS AND THAT SHE ADMITS THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE MONEY DISAPPEARED DURING A PERIOD WHEN SHE WAS AWAY FROM HER DESK.

THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE RECOMMENDS THAT OUR OFFICE RELIEVE MS. QUINN OF LIABILITY FOR THE MISSING FUNDS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 82A-1 (1970), WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS AUTHORIZED, AFTER CONSIDERATION OF THE PERTINENT FINDINGS AND IF IN CONCURRENCE WITH THE DETERMINATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED, TO RELIEVE ANY DISBURSING OR OTHER ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER OR AGENT * * * CHARGED WITH RESPONSIBILITY ON ACCOUNT OF PHYSICAL LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS, VOUCHERS, RECORDS, CHECKS, SECURITIES, OR PAPERS IN HIS CHARGE * * * IF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT DETERMINES (1) THAT SUCH LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OCCURRED WHILE SUCH OFFICER OR AGENT WAS ACTING IN THE DISCHARGE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES, OR THAT SUCH LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OCCURRED BY REASON OF THE ACT OR OMISSION OF A SUBORDINATE OF SUCH OFFICER OR AGENT; AND (2) THAT SUCH LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF SUCH OFFICER OR AGENT."

THE REQUEST FOR RELIEF OFFERS US NO INFORMATION ON WHICH TO BASE A CONCLUSION THAT THE SHORTAGE OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF MS. QUINN. IN FACT, WE CANNOT TELL FROM THE INFORMATION SUPPLIED WHEN THE LOSS OCCURRED, UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES IT TOOK PLACE, WHETHER ALL OR PART OF THE FUNDS IN MS. QUINN'S POSSESSION WERE MISSING, WHETHER OTHERS HAD ACCESS TO THE MONEY BESIDES MS. QUINN, ETC.

MOREOVER, WE NOTE THAT THE SUBMISSION DOES NOT CONTAIN THE REQUIRED FINDINGS THAT THE LOSS OCCURRED WHILE MS. QUINN OR HER SUBORDINATE WAS ACTING IN THE DISCHARGE OF HER OFFICIAL DUTIES, AND THAT SUCH LOSS TOOK PLACE WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF MS. QUINN. THE SUBMISSION MERELY STATES THAT "(THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF NEGLIGENCE OR INTENT TO DEFRAUD THE U.S. GOVERNMENT BY THE CLASS-B CASHIER."

IN SUM, THERE IS NO FORMAL ADMINISTRATIVE FINDING THAT THE LOSS OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT ON THE PART OF MS. QUINN, AND, EVEN IF SUCH A FINDING WAS RECITED, THE RECORD WOULD BE INSUFFICIENT TO PERMIT OUR CONCURRENCE. ACCORDINGLY, THE REQUEST FOR RELIEF CANNOT BE GRANTED.