Transparency of Customs appeals process questioned
The Auditor General's Department (AGD) has blasted the appeals process used by the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) to hear complaints from importers, charging that it lacks transparency.
The stinging rebuke came after the AGD's annual audit of the JCA revealed that over the last three years, Customs
However, in its latest report to Parliament,
"We examined four appeals files and found that they did not contain adequate information on the methodology and other documents which the committee used to arrive at its decision," the AGD noted.
"The foregoing constitutes a weakness in the administration of the internal review committee, which lacks transparency and provides no assurance that the review was conducted in an unbiased and fair manner," the AGD's report observed.
NO PROPER RESEARCH
It also noted
Commissioner of Customs Major Richard Reese has declined to comment on the findings, saying while he has already responded to the AGD, he has not yet reported to the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.
However, the AGD disclosed that among the shortcomings uncovered by the audit was the absence of any terms of reference for the committee and minutes of any of its meetings.
"The JCA did not maintain minutes of the appeals proceedings. Only an action sheet was seen on file with the decisions that were taken," the oversight agency underscored.
"The committee had no set quorum and we were unable to determine the criteria for selection of the members," the AGD continued.
The AGD has recommended that the JCA formalise the operations of the committee, setting out clearly, among other things, its composition, the