Jamaica Customs Agency- Bunkering Operations & Private Bonded Warehouses
The Auditor General conducted a special audit of the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) covering the period 2016 to 2021, to determine whether JCA had in place, internal controls including policies and procedures to guide its activities, as well as reduce the risk of financial losses and corrupt practices. The audit also sought to ascertain the credibility of the allegations made by a whistle-blower under the Protected Disclosure Act regarding malpractice and deficiencies in the operation of its private bonded warehouses. We employed an agile approach to the audit and identified material concerns in the bunkering operations. Whereas we could not confirm with certainty the allegations made by the whistle-blower, our review of JCA’s Private Bonded Warehouses and the Bunkering operations revealed control breaches of the Customs and Special Economic Zones Acts, resulting in an estimated $2.1 billion of financial exposure and $664.24 million in revenue remaining uncollected.
We noted that as part of the public sector transformation and modernisation programme and in furtherance to its commitment to offering world class service, JCA implemented the web-based Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) system in 2016 at a cost of US$4 million. The intention is to improve JCA’s effectiveness and efficiency by transforming its operations to a paperless system using the electronic submission of both import and export entry declarations, and the supporting documentation. Therefore, the importer/exporter or his broker would only be required to electronically prepare the respective entry declaration, upload the supporting documentation into ASYCUDA and submit these for approval by by the authorized JCA personnel.