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APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Accountable Officers - Disbursing officers - Relief - Illegal/improper payments - Substitute checks DIGEST: Relief from liability is granted Army disbursing official and his deputy pursuant to 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 his deputy. Collection actions were initiated in a timely and adequate manner. Relief is granted. Both checks were in the same amount. The recertified check was issued on the payee's allegation that the original check had not been received and a request for stop payment was made. The recertified check was issued by the Army under authority delegated by the Department of the Treasury. 31 C.F.R.

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B-236229, Oct 31, 1989, Office of General Counsel

APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Accountable Officers - Disbursing officers - Relief - Illegal/improper payments - Substitute checks DIGEST: Relief from liability is granted Army disbursing official and his deputy pursuant to 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3527(c) 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 his deputy, and collection actions were initiated in a timely and adequate manner.

Colonel David H. Parrish Chief of Staff, Finance Corp. U.S. Army Finance and Accounting Center Indianapolis, Indiana 46249-0001

Colonel Parrish:

This responds to your request of July 11, 1989, that we relieve Major P. H. Knorr, Finance Corps, DSSN 5066, Finance and Accounting Office, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Indiantown Gap, and his deputy, Ms. Judy Murphy under 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3527(c), for an improper payment of $2,722.12 payable to Mr. Robert D. Charles, II. For the reasons stated below, relief is granted.

The loss resulted when the payee, Mr. Charles, negotiated both the original and a recertified check. Both checks were in the same amount. The recertified check was issued on the payee's allegation that the original check had not been received and a request for stop payment was made. The recertified check was issued by the Army under authority delegated by the Department of the Treasury. 31 C.F.R. Sec. 245.8 (1988).

It appears from your submission that the issuance of the recertified check was within the bounds of due care since the payee signed a statement of non-receipt of the original check, DA Form 3037, and a stop payment order, SF 1184, was consequently placed on the original check, in accordance with regulations. Army Regulation 37-103, Disbursing Operations for Finance and Accounting Offices, para. 5-45, 5 46. There was no indication of bad faith on the part of the disbursing officer or his deputy, and adequate collection efforts are being made, 4 C.F.R. Sec. 102 (1989). Collection efforts were begun within the 90 day time frame we require where the payee has left the Army or its employ, B-227757, B-227759, Aug. 25, 1987. Accordingly, we grant relief.

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