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APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Accountable Officers - Disbursing Officers - Relief - Illegal/Improper Payments - Substitute Checks DIGEST: Relief is granted Army disbursing official under 31 U.S.C. Proper procedures were followed in the issuance of the recertified check. There was no indication of bad faith on the part of the disbursing official and subsequent collection attempts are being pursued. Relief is granted. Both checks were in the same amount. The recertified check was issued on the basis of the payee's allegation that the original check had not been received. Both checks were issued by the Army under authority delegated by the Department of the Treasury. It appears that the issuance of a recertified check in this case was within the bounds of due care and that there was no indication of bad faith on the part of the disbursing officer.

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B-229239, Nov 3, 1987, Office of General Counsel

APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Accountable Officers - Disbursing Officers - Relief - Illegal/Improper Payments - Substitute Checks DIGEST: Relief is granted Army disbursing official under 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3527(c) from liability for improper payment resulting from payee's negotiation of both original and recertified checks. Proper procedures were followed in the issuance of the recertified check, there was no indication of bad faith on the part of the disbursing official and subsequent collection attempts are being pursued.

General Hall:

This responds to your request of October 19, 1987, that we relieve Lt. Col. W. L. Weeks, Finance Corps, DSSN 6348, Finance and Accounting Officer, 24th Infantry Division and Fort Stewart, Fort Stewart, Georgia, under 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3527(c), for an improper payment of $1,054.74 payable to Mr. Roy M. Olivarez. For the reasons stated below, relief is granted.

The loss resulted when the payee negotiated both the original and a recertified check. Both checks were in the same amount. The recertified check was issued on the basis of the payee's allegation that the original check had not been received, a request for stop payment had been made and credit had been received from the Treasury. Both checks were issued by the Army under authority delegated by the Department of the Treasury. C.F.R. Sec. 245.8 and Treasury Fiscal Requirements Manual for Guidance of Departments and Agencies, Bulletin No. 83-28.

It appears that the issuance of a recertified check in this case was within the bounds of due care and that there was no indication of bad faith on the part of the disbursing officer. See 62 Comp.Gen. 476 (1983). Further, we note that adequate collection efforts are being made and that this case was referred to your collection division in a timely manner. Accordingly, we grant relief.

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