New Zealand First Winston Peters has called for the Serious Fraud Office to take a second look at the Government’s dealings with Fuji Xerox New Zealand following report in the Japanese press that its parent company, Fujifilm Holdings, will delay its 2016 annual report pending an investigation of accounting practices at Fuji Xerox NZ.
The Nikkei Asian Review reports that Fujifilm has created an independent committee to investigate the New Zealand subsidiary after an in-house inquiry reportedly “uncovered the possibility that the unit overstated net profits by a total of roughly 22 billion yen ($NZ284m) over the past several years.”
The National Business Review reported in September 2016 that Fuji Xerox NZ had loss of more than $51m. “Accounts filed with the Companies Office show a plunge in revenue for the year ending in March, after nearly a decade of record sales,” NBR said, adding “Industry figures believe the plunge is linked to the sudden departure of two of its senior executives earlier this year.”
That report prompted an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, which found nothing untoward.
Peters said that, in the wake of the head office enquiry into Fuji Xerox NZ, he wanted to know if taxpayers had been ripped off by Fuji Xerox. “We have to again question the competence of the Serious Fraud Office because this issue has New Zealand in the international media for all the wrong reasons,” Peters said.
“All eyes are now on the New Zealand Audit Office as we await its call on the request we made last October for it to look into ‘All of Government’ contracts, especially those involving Fuji Xerox. Now over six months later we want to know what they are going to do.”
Peters added: “Just before forensic accountants marched into Fuji Xerox, the Hon Simon Bridges’ own Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment awarded it a large ‘All of Government’ contract for office supplies.”
He said New Zealand First had warned Steven Joyce, then minister for economic development about Fuji Xerox last year, citing a contract with the Northland Schools Cluster.
“Since signing-up, schools now face a monthly standing charge per machine and for print volumes far in excess of what they previously used. If that’s not enough, the contract term is an irregular seven years so they end up stuck with old machines well past any depreciation point,” he said.
Peters last October asked Joyce in Parliament: “Can the minister confirm that Fuji Xerox’s contract with the Northland Schools Cluster is 84-months, if any; and why is the contract term 84-months?”
Joyce replied “The contracts between Fuji Xerox and the Northland cluster schools the member refers to were entered into outside of the All of Government framework, and without any involvement from the NZ Government Procurement and Property Branch.”
He said these contracts had subsequently been transitioned to more favourable all of government contracts.