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Investigation to be launched into alleged bribery of Vietnamese officials by Japanese firm

Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 14:44 GMT+7
Investigation to be launched into alleged bribery of Vietnamese officials by Japanese firm
The headquarters of Tenma Vietnam in Que Vo District, Bac Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: M.Q. / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung has requested an urgent probe into the alleged bribery of Vietnamese officials by Tenma Vietnam, a subsidiary of Japan’s plastics manufacturer Tenma Corporation.

Minister Dung told reporters on Monday afternoon that a team had been immediately established by the ministry’s inspectorate to investigate the Tax Department and the Customs Department of the northern province of Bac Ninh, where Tenma Vietnam is located.

Meanwhile, the General Department of Taxation and the General Department of Vietnam Customs were requested to report on recent allegations in Japanese media about bribes paid by Tenma Vietnam Company to the tune of VND5 billion (US$214,600) to avoid paying corporate and value-added taxes.

Tenma Vietnam was established in 2007 in Bac Ninh Province with a charter capital of $35 million, fully contributed by the parent corporation in Japan — Tenma Corporation — which was founded in 1949.

The Vietnam business of the Tokyo-based company specializes in manufacturing and trading plastic molding components and plastic molds.

Tenma Corporation’s sales in 2018 were JPY84.8 billion (US$787 million) with 7,557 employees worldwide, according to its annual stock report.

Tenma Vietnam has recently been in the limelight after Japanese media, including Asahi Shimbun newspaper, reported that the Vietnamese subsidiary gave bribes of VND5 billion to Vietnamese customs officials.

The firm paid Vietnamese customs officials in Bac Ninh VND2 billion ($85,800) to escape a value-added tax of JPY1.79 billion ($16.6 million) in June 2017, Asahi Shimbun reported.

The bribe had been approved by Tenma Corporation’s chairman Kento Fujino before it was given, according to the report.

The Vietnamese company’s employees then proceeded to bribe Bac Ninh’s customs officials VND3 billion ($128,800) to have tax arrears lowered from JPY80 million ($742,100) to JPY2.62 million ($24,300) in August 2019, Asahi Shimbun reported.

The allegation that Bac Ninh tax officials received money from Tenma Vietnam was a unilateral report from Japanese media, Ngo Xuan Tong, director of the Bac Ninh Tax Department, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

The company’s chief accountant confirmed that there was no such an expense, Tong said.

The Bac Ninh tax leader added “Tenma Vietnam is qualified to enjoy tax incentives so there is no reason for it to make such a payment.”

The provincial tax department had reviewed all related records, while Bac Ninh police had also worked with officials implicated in the alleged bribery from the provincial tax department and Tenma Vietnam to investigate and clarify the facts of the case, according to Tong.

Meanwhile, Bac Ninh authorities are waiting for the CEO of Tenma Vietnam, who has not been able to return to Vietnam due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions, to verify reports published in Japanese media, Tong said.

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