Skip to Highlights
Highlights

CERTIFYING OFFICERS - RELIEF - ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS - DUPLICATE PAYMENTS DIGEST: RELIEF IS GRANTED ARMY FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING OFFICIAL UNDER 31 U.S.C. THE OFFICER DID NOT KNOW AND BY REASONABLE DILIGENCE AND INQUIRY COULD NOT HAVE DISCOVERED THAT THE PAYEE HAD ACTUALLY RECEIVED BOTH CHECKS AND INTENDED TO CASH BOTH PAYMENT INSTRUMENTS. PROPER PROCEDURES WERE FOLLOWED IN THE CERTIFICATION OF THE SUBSTITUTE CHECK. RELIEF IS GRANTED. THE ROLE OF LTC MULLEN IN ISSUING THE SECOND CHECK WAS THAT OF CERTIFYING OFFICIAL. IT APPEARS IN THIS CASE THAT THE CRITERIA FOR RELIEF HAVE BEEN MET. FAR AS THE ARMY CERTIFYING OFFICIAL IS CONCERNED. BY REASONABLE DILIGENCE AND INQUIRY COULD NOT HAVE DISCOVERED.

View Decision

B-223357, JUN 23, 1986, OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL

CERTIFYING OFFICERS - RELIEF - ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS - DUPLICATE PAYMENTS DIGEST: RELIEF IS GRANTED ARMY FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING OFFICIAL UNDER 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3528 FROM LIABILITY FOR CERTIFICATION OF IMPROPER PAYMENT RESULTING FROM PAYEE'S NEGOTIATION OF BOTH ORIGINAL ISSUED ARMY INSTRUMENT AND SUBSTITUTE TREASURY CHECKS. THE OFFICER DID NOT KNOW AND BY REASONABLE DILIGENCE AND INQUIRY COULD NOT HAVE DISCOVERED THAT THE PAYEE HAD ACTUALLY RECEIVED BOTH CHECKS AND INTENDED TO CASH BOTH PAYMENT INSTRUMENTS. PROPER PROCEDURES WERE FOLLOWED IN THE CERTIFICATION OF THE SUBSTITUTE CHECK.

MR. CLYDE E. JEFFCOAT:

PRINCIPAL DEPUTY COMMANDER

U.S. ARMY FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING CENTER

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA 46249

THIS RESPONDS TO YOUR REQUEST OF JUNE 5, 1986, THAT WE RELIEVE LIEUTENANT COLONEL (LTC) W. A. MULLEN, JR., FINANCE CORPS, FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING OFFICER, U.S. ARMY TRAINING CENTER AND FORT DIX, NEW JERSEY, UNDER 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3528 FOR AN IMPROPER PAYMENT OF A $93.50 CHECK PAYABLE TO MR. CHARLES E. PUGLIESI. FOR THE REASONS STATED BELOW, RELIEF IS GRANTED.

THE LOSS RESULTED WHEN THE PAYEE NEGOTIATED BOTH AN ORIGINAL ARMY ISSUED CHECK AND A TREASURY-ISSUED REPLACEMENT INSTRUMENT. THE ROLE OF LTC MULLEN IN ISSUING THE SECOND CHECK WAS THAT OF CERTIFYING OFFICIAL. SEE AR-103, PARA. 4-143(B); SEE ALSO, B-215380, ET AL., JULY 23, 1984.

IT APPEARS IN THIS CASE THAT THE CRITERIA FOR RELIEF HAVE BEEN MET. FAR AS THE ARMY CERTIFYING OFFICIAL IS CONCERNED, HE "DID NOT KNOW, AND BY REASONABLE DILIGENCE AND INQUIRY COULD NOT HAVE DISCOVERED, THE CORRECT INFORMATION" THAT IS, THAT THE PAYEE HAD ACTUALLY RECEIVED THE ORIGINAL CHECK AND HAD-- OR PLANNED TO-- CASH BOTH CHECKS. ACCORDINGLY, WE GRANT RELIEF.

FINALLY, AS YOU ARE AWARE, THE SETTLEMENT OF A DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNT DOES NOT RELIEVE THE AGENCY OF ITS RESPONSIBILITY TO PURSUE COLLECTION ACTION ON THE DEBT CREATED BY THE IMPROPER PAYMENT. IN THIS CASE, ONCE THE DEBIT VOUCHER WAS RECEIVED FROM TREASURY IT TOOK THE ARMY ALMOST NINE MONTHS TO REFER THE MATTER TO YOUR COLLECTION DIVISION. AS WE PREVIOUSLY INDICATED TO YOU, WE THINK THAT DILIGENT COLLECTION PROCEDURES REQUIRE THAT THE ARMY FORWARD THE DEBT TO ITS COLLECTION DIVISION WITHIN 3 MONTHS OF ITS NOTIFICATION FROM TREASURY THAT A LOSS HAS OCCURRED.

GAO Contacts