B-234538, Dec 18, 1989

B-234538: Dec 18, 1989

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Where there is sufficient evidence that a transaction actually occured. Lack of evidence of authorization by the purchasing agent of one of the agencies will not bar payment of the claim where the alleged transaction occured several years previously. The amount in question is minor. The other government agency does not deny that it may have occured. The transaction in question was one in a series of transactions between the parties. Army For Catalog Cards B-234538: Returned herewith is Claim File Z-2861488 concerning the claim by the U.S. The Army refused payment because it required another purchase order due to the expiration of the one which was used. The Army recommends payment because the Library of Congress has threatened to refuse to honor further purchase orders from the Fort Rucker library until the claim is paid.

B-234538, Dec 18, 1989

PROCUREMENT - Payment/Discharge - Payment withholding - Propriety DIGEST: In a disputed claim between government agencies, where there is sufficient evidence that a transaction actually occured, lack of evidence of authorization by the purchasing agent of one of the agencies will not bar payment of the claim where the alleged transaction occured several years previously; the amount in question is minor; the other government agency does not deny that it may have occured; and the transaction in question was one in a series of transactions between the parties.

U.S. Library of Congress's Claim Against U.S. Army For Catalog Cards B-234538:

Returned herewith is Claim File Z-2861488 concerning the claim by the U.S. Library of Congress against the U.S. Army for $267.69 for catalog cards requested by and delivered to the Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama, in October and November of 1976 and 1977. We conclude that the claim may be paid.

This case involves the purchase of catalog cards in 1976 and 1977. Initially, the Army refused payment because it required another purchase order due to the expiration of the one which was used. Subsequently, it refused payment because the purchase order could no longer be located. March 1988, the Library of Congress again requested payment, enclosing copies of the original invoices and vouchers. In June 1988 Army Headquarters at Fort Rucker requested a decision from GAO saying it could not approve payment of a claim 10 years old without a valid purchase order and without supporting documents available to support or deny the claim. The Army recommends payment because the Library of Congress has threatened to refuse to honor further purchase orders from the Fort Rucker library until the claim is paid.

We have held that a lack of authorization by a purchasing agent of the government will not bar payment for a transaction which occured several years before and where the amount in question was minor, B-178664, O.M., June 14, 1973. In this case the Army does not deny or admit authorization, but says that evidence of authorization cannot be located. We have also held that a claimant's evidence of transactions, supported by evidence of prior and subsequent transactions, will support payment of a claim in the absence of invoices or other evidence of receipt, B-178664, O.M., supra. In this case, the Library of Congress has produced copies of vouchers, invoices and correspondence in support of its claim. addition, we have a series of transactions between the parties which precede and follow the ones in question.

Since the Army does not deny that it received the catalog cards for which this claim is presented, and there appears to be sufficient data available upon which to conclude that the transactions in question actually occured, we conclude that payment by the Army of $267.69 may be made.