Categorized | National News

Customs Investigating Fraud Cases

For the first six months of the year the Department of Customs has investigated more than 80 fraud cases and collected nearly $200,000 in revenue off of individuals and companies that tried to rip off the government.

Customs officers say had it not been for those investigations the department would have lost even more money than it has now.

“So far we’ve uncovered about 81 cases of fraud which were adjudicated, totalling $192,555.90 in additional duty. And a total of $64,630 in fines was collected,” said Customs officer Gregory Jones.

He was addressing participants at the Institute of Internal Auditors’ one-day seminar on fraud and anti-money laundering.

During the 2010/2011 period, Mr. Jones said a total of 182 fraud cases were examined, allowing the department to rake in an additional $580,687 in duty and $118,135 for fines.

Mr. Jones said the department is currently faced with major cases of invoice fraud such as double or false invoice, misdescription fraud and import and export licencing fraud.

He told the story of a local seafood company that was falsely listing imported goods to receive a lesser customs charge on the items – from 60 per cent to 10 per cent.

However, he said after thorough investigations, and taking the matter to the World Customs Organisation, of which The Bahamas is a member, the department was able to cash in on the fraudsters.

“Obviously the company maintained that they were innocent,” he explained. “But we invited them in and showed them the documentation and somehow they gave in.”

“They decided that we were right and that they were misclassifying this item. Out of that exercise we were able to retrieve additional duty of more than $120,000.”

Mr. Jones said once caught, those found defrauding the system can either have the matter adjudicated by the comptroller of Customs upon admission of guilt or if they disagree they can refer the matter to the courts.

During the 2010/2011 fiscal period the department raked in more than $705 million.

Legislation was passed recently in parliament to modernise the Customs Department.

The Customs Management Act 2011 aims to increase transparency in the policies and procedures of the department, give Customs more independence to perform its duties, provide active authority to control the movement of goods in free trade zones, improve the interaction between customs and economic operators and to maintain a high capacity of fraud detection while facilitating trade.

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook