Police say no evidence for bribery by Japanese firm

By Ba Do   May 27, 2020 | 04:59 am PT
Police say no evidence for bribery by Japanese firm
Tenma Vietnam headquarters in Bac Ninh Province as seen on May 26, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do.
Bac Ninh police say they have not found evidence that Japanese company Tenma bribed Vietnamese officials JPY25 million ($215,000) to reduce its tax liability.

Director of the province's Police Department, Pham The Tung, stated this on Wednesday after meeting local tax and customs officials to verify reports that the plastic appliances maker had bribed Vietnamese officials on one occasion each in 2017 and 2019.

Authorities have not been able to meet the Japanese CEO of Tenma Vietnam since he is not currently in the country.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Tuesday ordered an investigation into Japanese media reports of the alleged bribery.

Eleven customs and tax officials in the northern province, where Tenma is based, have been suspended for 15 days from Wednesday pending the investigation.

Japanese newspaper Asahi reported on May 12 that Tenma executives had confessed to prosecutors in Tokyo that the company’s Vietnamese subsidiary had imported in June 2017 a batch of molds for which Vietnamese officials had demanded value-added tax of JPY1.8 billion ($16.7 million).

To avoid the tax, the company paid a senior customs official VND2 billion ($86,000) in cash.

The newspaper also reported that in August 2019 Bac Ninh tax authorities had asked Tenma to pay tax dues, including corporate income tax, of JPY89 million ($826,400).

The company had then paid VND3 billion ($129,000) in cash to tax officials to get the amount reduced to $24,300.

Bac Ninh customs and tax officials have denied the allegations, claiming Tenma, since it processes for export, is eligible for zero import and value-added tax duties, and so the allegations are baseless.

The company continues to operate normally at the Que Vo Industrial Park in Bac Ninh. Its spokesperson told local media that all its senior officials are either away from the province or still in Japan.

The company, established in 2007, produces plastic parts for household goods and vehicles.

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