Govt paid RM273m for a new customs system that was never delivered

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The government had paid out almost RM273 million for a new customs system that was never delivered.

According to the Auditor-General’s 2019 report Series 2 – the uCustoms system project was initiated in 2013 and was supposed to complete in 2015.

It was supposed to replace the customs information system which had been in use since 1995.

The contract for the project was awarded to a company identified as “374044-H” by auditors – who had submitted the lowest bid.

However, the Audit Department opined that the contractor’s weak technical skills were the main reason the project failed.

The contract was initially worth RM317.78 million, for a 24-month period between October 2013 and October 2015.

However, the Finance Ministry later approved five extensions of time and three supplementary contracts – with the project completion date moved to Dec 31, 2020.

These extensions brought the cost of the uCustoms project to RM390.01 million.

However, the project failed to be completed, with only 27.2 percent of deliverables delivered.

The uCustoms contract was not renewed when it expired on Dec 31, 2020.

RM272.99 million has already been paid to the system developer.

Auditors found that 13 payments totalling RM64.89 million could not be verified due to incomplete documentation.

A notice for Liquidated Ascertained Damages totalling RM3.94 million had been issued in December last year.

Meanwhile, the Customs Department had appointed company “150059-H” as the project management office for uCustoms.

They had been paid RM7.42 million for the task.

However, the Audit Department noted that 150059-H had been “less successful” in playing its roles as the project management office, and had failed to provide, update, and keep project files centrally.

Public Accounts Committee chairperson Wong Kah Woh in a statement said they may haul up the government over the uCustoms project. – Malaysiakini