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Fraud Control Arrangements in the Australian Customs Service

NCJ Number
Barbara Cass; Vanda Lockyer; Peter White
Date Published
124 pages
This is a report on a performance audit of the Australian Customs Service, with the objectives of the audit being to determine whether Customs has implemented appropriate fraud control arrangements consistent with the Commonwealth's Fraud Control Guidelines, as well as whether these arrangements have been administratively effective.
The audit's scope encompassed Customs' fraud control arrangements as part of its corporate governance framework; the strategies, systems, and processes used by Customs to prevent and detect both internal and external fraud; the management of internal and external fraud investigations; and the reporting of internal and external fraud. The audit concluded that Customs has developed and implemented a fraud control framework of preventing, detecting, investigating, and reporting internal and external fraud in accordance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines. Customs' Fraud Control Plan 2001 underpins this framework. The plan identifies fraud risks, incorporates control strategies and action plans, and reinforces responsibility and accountability at all levels of the organization. Customs has largely met its reporting requirements under the guidelines, but it should include details of internal fraud referrals and investigations in its annual report and advise the Australian Federal Police of its current identified major fraud risks and serious or complex fraud cases under investigation. Overall, the administrative effectiveness of customs' fraud control arrangements is sound; however, these arrangements could be strengthened if outstanding protective security reviews were completed; if fraud referrals, investigations, and case outcomes were regularly evaluated; if accurate records of court-imposed debts were maintained following successful prosecution, so as to ensure every effort is made to recover and manage these debts; and if measures were developed to more accurately assess the effectiveness of fraud strategies. Subject index and appended supplementary information, including the external fraud investigation process, fraud-related performance measures, and key components of the customs and excise fraud strategy