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Travellers' cheques missing - Legal unit of the Jamaica Customs Agency reviewing police recommendations

Published:Wednesday | January 31, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The legal unit of the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is reviewing recommendations by the Fraud Squad with a view to taking disciplinary action against culpable staff member(s) after $1.8 million in travellers' cheques went missing.

Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis, in an Activity-Based Audit of the agency, reported that the JCA could not account for missing travellers' cheques that had been in storage at one of the agency's main offices since 2012.

Customs officials only discovered that the funds had disappeared during a handover exercise in October 2015.

The matter was reported to the Fraud Squad, which conducted an investigation and made recommendations to the agency.

The Activity-Based Audit focused on the JCA's management of detained or seized imported goods to determine whether it is efficiently managing the detention and seizure of cash and imported goods.

It was reported that the JCA did not implement the required systems to ensure effective controls over cash and monetary instruments seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Over a nine-year period spanning 2007 to 2016, Jamaica Customs seized cash and other monetary instruments totalling J$45.8 million.

The agency did not deposit these funds until the team of auditors from the Auditor General's Department conducted its recent audit. Jamaica Customs was unable to indicate that the amounts seized were required as evidence.

Monroe Ellis also reported that there was no evidence of supervisory or internal audit checks of the seizure records for the financial years 2007-2008 to 2015-2016, at the two international airports and Contraband Enforcement Team administrative office.