[Appeal of Claims Group Settlement]

B-217564: Aug 13, 1985

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An Agency for International Development employee appealed a Claims Group settlement which disallowed his claim for a refund of the profits from the sale of his automobile at his overseas duty post. The employee claimed that roundtrip travel costs between India and Europe, where the automobile was purchased during annual leave, should have been included as part of the vehicle's acquisition costs. The certifying officer recommended that, if the employee's claim was to be allowed, the refund should be limited to the difference between the reasonable travel expenses relating to transportation of the automobile and the constructive costs for which he has already been reimbursed, but should not include his wife's travel expenses or expenses incurred due to circuitous or interrupted travel. Regulations prohibit profits resulting from the sale of personel property obtained through import privileges that U.S. employees derive from their official status. GAO found that, because the employee took annual leave and combined the automobile purchase with personal travel, the refund claimed would allow the employee to indirectly profit from the sale of the automobile. GAO saw little difference between allowing the employee to retain the proceeds of the sale to finance personal travel and reimbursing him out of proceeds after the travel has been completed. Accordingly, the disallowance of the claim was sustained.

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