The chief financial aide to Mayor Marion Barry says the mayor's office has been unable to locate any records covering nearly two years of spending from Barry's discretionary accounts and believes that no records exist in D.C. government files, according to an affidavit.

City officials maintain that there is no legal requirement to document expenses from the so-called ceremonial fund, which consists of two commingled discretionary accounts totaling $17,500 annually.

A federal grand jury is trying to determine whether city officials used funds from these accounts for Barry's personal expenses. The city provided its accounting of the fund on Friday after a 14-month legal battle initiated by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act.

At least six current or former city officials have been summoned by the grand jury to testify about expenditures from the accounts, including Clifton B. Smith, former secretary of the District, and Robert L. Green, former president of the University of the District of Columbia.

Sources said prosecutors are attempting to assemble records for the period of October 1982 through June 1984 by requesting bank documents from American Security Bank, which held the account.

It was reported Saturday that for the two-year period between June 1984 and June 1986, backup documentation for about $41,000 in checks is missing or incomplete, leaving unexplained the expenditures of thousands of dollars for hotels, caterers and cash outlays.

Addressing the earlier 21-month period, George Thomas, controller for the mayor's office, swore in an affidavit to D.C. Superior Court that no records exist at all. The affidavit will be submitted in connection with the freedom of information lawsuit filed by The Post.

Dwight S. Cropp, a top Barry aide who controlled the funds during that time, has testified twice before the grand jury, sources said. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

According to sources, Cropp has told other officials that he kept some minimal records during the 21-month period, but that they apparently disappeared when he left his job as secretary of the District of Columbia to serve as UDC's vice president in 1984.

The records show only three checks totaling $1,587 signed by Cropp, who now serves as Barry's director of intergovernmental relations.

The $17,500 ceremonial fund is a combination of two separate office accounts provided under District law: a $2,500 "official expenses" fund and an additional $15,000 account for "reception for eminent persons." The monies are mixed in a single account at American Security Bank and administered by Barry's executive office.

The $15,000 "eminent persons" account is actually set aside for the D.C. Council, not the mayor, but council officials said they discovered the fact last year only after questions arose about Barry's handling of the account.

D.C. Council Chairman David A. Clarke has said he told Barry aides that the mayor would have to turn over the fund to the council or provide a detailed explanation of expenditures. Subsequently, the council and Barry agreed to raise the annual $15,000 appropriation to $50,000 and to split it equally beginning Oct. 1. The new fund will be audited regularly.

The law appears to give officials wide latitude in spending funds from the "eminent persons" account, stating that it may be used for "such expenses as the Council . . . shall deem necessary, including personal services, for the reception and entertainment of officials of foreign, state, local or federal governments and other dignitaries and eminent persons visiting in or returning to the District of Columbia . . . ."

The law also appears to indicate that no detailed records are necessary but that some written documentation is required, stating that "certificate of the council shall be sufficient voucher for {such} expenditures . . . ."

Although city officials maintain that there is no requirement to provide any documentation, one senior city official familiar with financial recordkeeping said the mayor's office should have been more concerned about the appearances of spending taxpayer funds with little documentation.

Without records, the official said, "You can't prove you didn't pocket it."

Records provided to The Post for the period of June 1984 to June 1986 show that in addition to cash outlays totaling $5,750, two blank checks were issued to Patricia A. Seldon, the mayor's executive assistant, for "emergency expenses." Bank records show one check was cashed for $396 in November 1984. There is no indication that the second check was cashed.

Seldon could not be reached for comment yesterday. She was summoned to appear before the grand jury several weeks ago but it is unclear whether she testified.

The records also show a $260 expenditure for the rental of a post office box. There is no explanation of the purpose for the post box. Two other checks totaling $355 apparently covered the cost of a post office box that documents indicate was in the name of "Friends of Jesse Jackson."

Robert B. Robinson, the former administrative officer for the mayor's office who was replaced more than a year ago as the custodian of Barry's expense records, apparently wrote one check for $640, which apparently was used to cover tickets and expenses to a Michael Jackson concert, sources said. The check was made out and signed by Robinson, but it was unclear who may have received the tickets.

Staff writer Nancy Lewis contributed to this report.