Japanese firm and officials under investigation over alleged bribery
Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung has requested an urgent investigation into an alleged bribery of Vietnamese officials by Tenma Vietnam - a subsidiary of Japan’s plastic product maker Tenma Corporation.
Tenma Vietnam in Que Vo Industrial Zone in Bac Ninh province. (Photo: tenmacorp.co.jp)
Accordingly, he assigned the ministry’s Inspectorate to immediately set up a team to inspect the Tax Department and the Customs Department of the northern province of Bac Ninh, where Tenma Vietnam is located.
The Director-General of Vietnam Taxation and the Director-General of the Vietnam Customs were requested to report on recent allegations on Japanese media about bribes paid by Tenma Vietnam Company to the tune of 25 million JPY (232,000 USD) to avoid paying corporate and value-added taxes. The report must be sent to the Ministry of Finance before May 26.
Tenma Vietnam was established in 2007 in Bac Ninh province with charter capital of 35 million USD, fully contributed by the parent corporation in Japan. The company specialises in manufacturing and trading of plastic moulding components and plastic moulds. Tenma Corporation is a Japanese company that was founded in 1949. According to its annual stock report, Tenma's sales in 2018 were 84.8 billion JPY with 7,557 employees worldwide.
The case of Tenma Vietnam came into the spotlight when Japanese media including Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that the Vietnamese subsidiary gave a bribe of 25 million JPY (232,000 USD) to Vietnamese customs officials.
According to Asahi Shimbun, the Tokyo-based Tenma Corporation confessed the case to the Tokyo District Prosecutor. Tenma Corporation reportedly took the initiative to set up a third-party committee to investigate the violation. Bribing foreign governments is a prohibited practice in Japan.
According to a report from the committee, in June 2017, Tenma Vietnam in Bac Ninh received a notice of the collection of value-added tax with imported raw materials up to about 400 billion VND (17.8 million USD). Leaders of Tenma Vietnam proposed to the head office about bribing the local customs authorities for the exemption of these taxes.
Receiving approval from the president of the parent company Kento Fujino, Tenma Vietnam reportedly paid 2 billion VND (88,900 USD) in cash to the local Customs Department's investigating leader, according to the report.
In addition, a local tax audit in August last year found some of Tenma Vietnam’s revenues were not eligible for tax incentives. Therefore, local authorities reportedly asked the company to pay an additional 17.8 billion VND of corporate tax. Tenma Vietnam was alleged to have spent 3 billion VND to reduce this fee to about 567 million VND (25,200 USD) including fines.
Meanwhile, Ngo Xuan Tong, Director of the Bac Ninh Tax Department, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the allegation that Bac Ninh tax officials received money from Tenma Vietnam was a unilateral report from Japanese media.
“The company's chief accountant confirmed that there was no such expense,” he said.
Tong said the provincial Tax Department had reviewed all related records, and subsequently, the provincial People's Committee also assigned the Bac Ninh Police Department to investigate and clarify the case./.VNA