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Customs Audit Reveals $10 Million In Missing Receipts

A forensic examination of the accounts of the customs office at Prince George Dock shows that receipts for nearly $10 million in revenue collected over a four-month period have gone missing, leaving officials at the Department of Customs scrambling to find the information as the Ministry of Finance demands answers.

Prince George Dock, where the majority of cruise ships and a number of pleasure vessels enter the country, brought in $53.26 million in revenue between July 2008 and January 2010, according to a July 13, 2010 inspection report from the Office of the Auditor General.

But when officers tried to verify the funds collected, the Bahamas Customs Harbour Office could not produce any record of who paid what portion of the $9.87 million received from July through October 2008, according to the report.

That includes those who would have paid in cash.

“During our examination of the cashbook, we were unable to trace recorded amountsâ ¦to the general receipt books and cash vouchers because these vouchers could not be located for audit inspection, “Auditor General Terrance Bastian said in his report.

“We recommend that customs management produce the general receipt books, departure tax files and harbor dues files for the period.”

Inspectors were also shocked to find that from July 2008 through July 2009, none of the ships that arrived at the dock were recorded on the inward report register.

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