31 U.S. Code § 3528 - Responsibilities and relief from liability of certifying officials

(a) A certifying official certifying a voucher is responsible for—
(1) information stated in the certificate, voucher, and supporting records;
(2) the computation of a certified voucher under this section and section 3325 of this title;
(3) the legality of a proposed payment under the appropriation or fund involved;
(4) repaying a payment—
(A) illegal, improper, or incorrect because of an inaccurate or misleading certificate;
(B) prohibited by law; or
(C) that does not represent a legal obligation under the appropriation or fund involved; and
(5) verifying transportation rates, freight classifications, and other information provided on a Government bill of lading or transportation request, unless the Administrator of General Services has determined that verification by a prepayment audit conducted pursuant to section 3726 (a) of this title for a particular mode or modes of transportation, or for an agency or subagency, will not adequately protect the interests of the Government.
(b)
(1) The Comptroller General may relieve a certifying official from liability when the Comptroller General decides that—
(A) the certification was based on official records and the official did not know, and by reasonable diligence and inquiry could not have discovered, the correct information; or
(B)
(i) the obligation was incurred in good faith;
(ii) no law specifically prohibited the payment; and
(iii) the United States Government received value for payment.
(2) The Comptroller General may deny relief when the Comptroller General decides the head of the agency did not carry out diligently collection action under procedures prescribed by the Comptroller General.
(c) The Comptroller General shall relieve a certifying official from liability for an overpayment—
(1) to a common carrier under section 3726 of this title when the Comptroller General decides the overpayment occurred only because the administrative audit before payment did not verify transportation rates, freight classifications, or land-grant deductions and the Administrator of General Services has determined that verification by a prepayment audit conducted pursuant to section 3726 (a) of this title for a particular mode or modes of transportation, or for an agency or subagency, will not adequately protect the interests of the Government; or
(2) provided under a Government bill of lading or transportation request when the overpayment was the result of using improper transportation rates or classifications or the failure to deduct the proper amount under a land-grant law or agreement and the Administrator of General Services has determined that verification by a prepayment audit conducted pursuant to section 3726 (a) of this title for a particular mode or modes of transportation, or for an agency or subagency, will not adequately protect the interests of the Government.

Source

(Pub. L. 97–258, Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 966; Pub. L. 98–216, § 1(4),Feb. 14, 1984, 98 Stat. 4; Pub. L. 104–106, div. A, title IX, § 913(c)(5),Feb. 10, 1996, 110 Stat. 412; Pub. L. 105–264, § 3(a)(2),Oct. 19, 1998, 112 Stat. 2352.)

Historical and Revision Notes 1982 Act
Revised Section Source (U.S. Code) Source (Statutes at Large)
3528(a) 31:82c(less provisos). Dec. 29, 1941, ch. 641, § 2, 55 Stat. 875; June 6, 1972, Pub. L. 92–310, § 231(cc), 86 Stat. 213.
31:82f(related to certifying officers). Apr. 28, 1942, ch. 247, § 301(1st par. proviso under heading “Bureau of Accounts” related to certifying officers), 56 Stat. 244.
3528(b) 31:82c(1st proviso).
3528(c) 31:82c(last proviso).
31:82g(related to certifying officers). June 1, 1942, ch. 320(related to certifying officers), 56 Stat. 306.
3528(d) 31:82e(related to 31:82c). Dec. 29, 1941, ch. 641, § 4(related to § 2), 55 Stat. 876.

In the section, the word “official” is substituted for “officer or employee” and “officer” for consistency in the revised title and with other titles of the United States Code.
In subsection (a), before clause (1), the words “the existence and correctness of” are omitted as surplus. In clause (1), the words “or otherwise stated on” are omitted as surplus. The word “records” is substituted for “papers” for consistency. Clause (2) is substituted for 31:82f(related to certifying officers) because of the restatement. In clause (4), before subclause (A), the word “repaying” is substituted for “and required to make good to the United States” to eliminate unnecessary words. The words “the amount of” are omitted as surplus. In subclause (A), the word “inaccurate” is substituted for “false, inaccurate” to eliminate an unnecessary word. The words “made by him” are omitted as surplus.
In subsection (b), before clause (1), the words “in his discretion” and “for any payment otherwise proper” are omitted as surplus. Clause (2)(B) is substituted for “the payment was not contrary to any statutory provision specifically prohibiting payments of the character involved” to eliminate unnecessary words.
In subsection (c), before clause (1), the word “services” in 31:82c(last proviso) is omitted as surplus. The words “On and after June 1, 1942” in 31:82g(related to certifying officers) are omitted as executed. The word “audit” is substituted for “examination” for consistency in the revised title and with other titles of the Code. The words “of the transportation bill” are omitted as surplus. In clause (2), the words “equalization and other” in 31:82g are omitted as surplus.
In subsection (d), the words “under the jurisdiction” are omitted as surplus. The words “a military department of the Department of Defense” are substituted for “the Department of the Army, the Navy Department (including the Marine Corps)” for consistency with title 10. The words “and the Panama Canal” (subsequently changed to “the Canal Zone Government” by section 2(a)(1) of the Act of September 26, 1950 (ch. 1049, 64 Stat. 1038)) are omitted because of the Panama Canal Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96–70, 93 Stat. 452). The word “pay” is substituted for “salaries” for consistency in the revised title and with other titles of the Code.
1984 Act
This clarifies section 3528 (b) by restoring the authority of the Comptroller General to deny relief to certifying officials in the same way relief may be denied to disbursing officials.
Amendments

1998—Subsec. (a)(5). Pub. L. 105–264, § 3(a)(2)(A), added par. (5).
Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 105–264, § 3(a)(2)(B), inserted “and the Administrator of General Services has determined that verification by a prepayment audit conducted pursuant to section 3726 (a) of this title for a particular mode or modes of transportation, or for an agency or subagency, will not adequately protect the interests of the Government” after “deductions”.
Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 105–264, § 3(a)(2)(C), inserted “and the Administrator of General Services has determined that verification by a prepayment audit conducted pursuant to section 3726 (a) of this title for a particular mode or modes of transportation, or for an agency or subagency, will not adequately protect the interests of the Government” after “agreement”.
1996—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 104–106struck out subsec. (d) which read as follows: “This section does not apply to disbursements of a military department of the Department of Defense, except disbursements for departmental pay and expenses in the District of Columbia.”
1984—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 98–216designated existing provisions as par. (1), substituted designations of subpars. (A) and (B) and cls. (i), (ii), and (iii) for former designations of pars. (1) and (2) and subpars. (A), (B), and (C), respectively, and added par. (2).
Effective Date of 1998 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 105–264effective 18 months after Oct. 19, 1998, see section 3(b) ofPub. L. 105–264, set out as a note under section 3322 of this title.
Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 98–216effective Sept. 13, 1982, see section 4(c) ofPub. L. 98–216, set out as a note under section 490 of Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.

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31 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large

 

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