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JIS News

Public Relations Manager at Jamaica Customs, Naomi Goulbourne-Rodney has pointed out that for the first quarter of the financial year, the value of under invoiced imports amounted to some $63.8 million.This compares to $15.6 million for the same period last year, with Mrs. Goulbourne-Rodney explaining that the increase was due to improvements in the Department’s capability to detect the infraction.
She told JIS News that if persons did not know the content and value of their imports, then they could pay a fee of $1,200.00 for a Bill of Sight (C24), and a Customs official would examine the shipment and assess its value.
On the other hand, she said there were persons who were aware of the content and value of their shipment, but they knowingly under invoiced its content, presenting a value that was “much less than the price that they actually paid for it”.
Both importers of personal and commercial shipments have been found to be in breach. “It is very serious,” Mrs. Goulbourne-Rodney said, adding that in some cases the value of invoices was cut in half. “So you would have persons ending up with two sets of invoices, one for Customs purpose only and one for their books,” she noted.
Mrs. Goulbourne-Rodney warned that if a person is found to be in breach, and “we have the evidence, the penalty is $500,000.00, or three times the value of the goods, if this is more”.
She pointed that false declarations could be detected by the Department’s post audit branch, which has the legal right to do an audit on a shipment, even up to two years after clearance.
“From our audit, there is one case that we are looking at, where the person was found in breach of over $100 million,” Mrs. Goulbourne-Rodney said.”Voluntary compliance is what we (Customs) are encouraging. We want persons to come, be honest (and) pay what you are supposed to pay. Customs wants the duty that is required. Nothing more, nothing less,” she said.