B-64245, MARCH 31, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 718

B-64245: Mar 31, 1947

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AUTHORIZING THE RELIEF OF A CERTIFYING OFFICER OF LIABILITY WHENEVER THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL FINDS THAT THE OFFICER COULD NOT HAVE ASCERTAINED THE ACTUAL FACTS BY REASONABLE DILIGENCE AND INQUIRY AND THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS RECEIVED VALUE FOR THE PAYMENT. 1947: REFERENCE IS MADE TO REPLIES OF SEPTEMBER 30. WHICH REPLIES ARE VIEWED AS CONSTITUTING REQUESTS FOR RELIEF FROM LIABILITY UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29. - $57.93 THE CORRECT COMPUTATIONS SHOULD HAVE BEEN: REGULAR PAY: 40 HRS. IT IS STATED THAT "IT HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE OVERPAYMENT OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CERTIFYING OFFICER.'. RELIEVE SUCH CERTIFYING OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF LIABILITY FOR ANY PAYMENT OTHERWISE PROPER WHENEVER HE FINDS (1) THAT THE CERTIFICATION WAS BASED ON OFFICIAL RECORDS AND THAT SUCH CERTIFYING OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE DID NOT KNOW.

B-64245, MARCH 31, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 718

CERTIFYING OFFICERS - LIABILITY - OVERPAYMENTS RESULTING FROM ERRONEOUS COMPUTATIONS UNDER SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, AUTHORIZING THE RELIEF OF A CERTIFYING OFFICER OF LIABILITY WHENEVER THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL FINDS THAT THE OFFICER COULD NOT HAVE ASCERTAINED THE ACTUAL FACTS BY REASONABLE DILIGENCE AND INQUIRY AND THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS RECEIVED VALUE FOR THE PAYMENT, A CERTIFYING OFFICER, BEING SPECIFICALLY RESPONSIBLE BY STATUTE FOR THE CORRECTNESS OF COMPUTATIONS, MAY NOT BE RELIEVED OF LIABILITY FOR AN OVERPAYMENT RESULTING FROM AN ERRONEOUS COMPUTATION OF A VOUCHER CERTIFIED BY HIM ON THE BASIS THAT IT HAD BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE OVERPAYMENT OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE OFFICER.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO S. W. REED, WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION, MARCH 31, 1947:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO REPLIES OF SEPTEMBER 30, 1946, AND JANUARY 14, 1946, MADE IN YOUR BEHALF TO AUDIT EXCEPTIONS OF THIS OFFICE DATED NOVEMBER 6, 1945, AND DECEMBER 16, 1946, WITHHOLDING CREDIT IN YOUR ACCOUNTS FOR $5.63, REPRESENTING AN OVERPAYMENT TO COREY A. MORRELL ON PAY ROLL VOUCHER NO. 1-8886, JULY 1943 ACCOUNTS OF G. F. ALLEN, SYMBOL NO. 207-965, WHICH REPLIES ARE VIEWED AS CONSTITUTING REQUESTS FOR RELIEF FROM LIABILITY UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, 55 STAT. 875.

IT APPEARS THAT THE OVERPAYMENT IN QUESTION RESULTED FROM AN ERRONEOUS COMPUTATION OF WAGES TO THE SAID COREY A. MORRELL FOR THE PAY PERIOD JULY 10 TO 16, 1943, AS FOLLOWS:

REGULAR PAY: 40 HRS. AT $1.00 --------------------- $40.00

OVERTIME PAY: 15 HRS. AT 1.50 --------------------- 28.13

TOTAL PAY -------------------------------------- $68.13

LESS TAX -------------------------------------------- 10.20

TOTAL PAID ------------------------------------- $57.93

THE CORRECT COMPUTATIONS SHOULD HAVE BEEN:

REGULAR PAY: 40 HRS. AT $1.00 --------------------- $40.00

OVERTIME PAY: 15 HRS. AT $1.50--------------------- 22.50

CORRECT TOTAL PAY ------------------------------ $62.50

LESS TAX -------------------------------------------- 10.20

CORRECT TOTAL ---------------------------------- $52.30

AMOUNT ERRONEOUSLY OVERPAID ------------------------- $5.63

IN THE REPLY OF SEPTEMBER 30, 1946, IT IS STATED THAT "IT HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE OVERPAYMENT OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CERTIFYING OFFICER.' SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, 55 STAT. 875, UNDER WHICH RELIEF APPEARS TO BE SOUGHT, PROVIDES, IN MATERIAL PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * PROVIDED, THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL MAY, IN HIS DISCRETION, RELIEVE SUCH CERTIFYING OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF LIABILITY FOR ANY PAYMENT OTHERWISE PROPER WHENEVER HE FINDS (1) THAT THE CERTIFICATION WAS BASED ON OFFICIAL RECORDS AND THAT SUCH CERTIFYING OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE DID NOT KNOW, AND BY REASONABLE DILIGENCE AND INQUIRY COULD NOT HAVE ASCERTAINED, THE ACTUAL FACTS, OR (2) THAT THE OBLIGATION WAS INCURRED IN GOOD FAITH, THAT THE PAYMENT WAS NOT CONTRARY TO ANY STATUTORY PROVISION SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITING PAYMENTS OF THE CHARACTER INVOLVED, AND THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS RECEIVED VALUE FOR SUCH PAYMENT * * *.

INASMUCH AS THE COMPUTATIONS IN QUESTION CLEARLY ARE ERRONEOUS AND IN VIEW OF THE SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF LAW THAT CERTIFYING OFFICERS ARE DEEMED RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CORRECTNESS OF THE COMPUTATION OF A VOUCHER CERTIFIED BY THEM FOR PAYMENT (SEE 56 STAT. 244), A MERE STATEMENT THAT THE RESULTING OVERPAYMENTS WERE ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO HAVE OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CERTIFYING OFFICER HAS NO FOUNDATION IN FACT. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE ERROR DOUBTLESS COULD HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED BY THE EXERCISE OF REASONABLE DILIGENCE AND INQUIRY, AND SINCE CLEARLY THE UNITED STATES DID NOT RECEIVE VALUE FOR THE AMOUNT INVOLVED, THE MATTER PROPERLY IS NOT ONE FOR THE GRANTING OF RELIEF TO THE CERTIFYING OFFICER UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, SUPRA.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THE CHARGE AGAINST YOU IN THE AMOUNT OF $5.63 MUST BE CONTINUED UNTIL COLLECTION OF SAID SUM SHALL HAVE BEEN EFFECTED. PROMPT ACTION IN THAT CONNECTION IS REQUESTED.