Audit commission urges Customs to rein in balances of surety bonds

Posted on May 22, 2015

THE BUREAU of Customs should declare bonds issued by defunct surety companies as forfeit, the Commission on Audit (CoA) said, as part of efforts to collect more than P5 billion worth of unpaid accounts from four major port facilities.

State auditors said that as of 2013, due and demandable bonds for the Customs bureau hit P5.7 billion from the two ports in Metro Manila and from the Port of Batangas.

“The Bureau’s operational procedures, monitoring and enforcement on the settlement/collection of Due and Demandable Bonds and Unpaid Accounts in the three major ports in the National Capital Region and the Port of Batangas were not effective resulting in accumulated balances of P5,604,492,259.66 and P104,304,989.00, respectively,” the CoA report read.

For the Port of Manila, auditors found that 25 surety companies with P1.65 billion worth of bonds due were already closed, rendering them impossible to settle.

Due bonds amounting to P1.07 billion in the Manila International Container Port and P66.64 million from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Custom house also remain unsettled based on the report.

“These amounts, if collected, would augment the government funds and may be used to finance government projects,” the auditors said.

The auditors said the bureau should declare the bonds forfeit and “demand payment of duties and taxes due from the principal and the sureties involved,” given that the bonds due have remained unsettled for several years.

Accreditation for companies with unliquidated bonds should likewise be suspended, the CoA said, so that the uncollected amount does not expand further.

The bonds may be settled through the submission of proper liquidation documents or the payment of the due accounts. -- Melissa Luz T. Lopez