Five tax officials suspended for alleged bribery at Tenma Vietnam

Update: May, 27/2020 - 13:19


Tenma Vietnam, located in Bắc Ninh Province, is a subsidiary of Japan’s plastic product maker Tenma Corporation. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Eleven Vietnamese officials involved in tax and post-customs clearance inspections at Tenma Vietnam have been suspended from work for being implicated in alleged bribery.

Tenma Vietnam is a subsidiary of Japan’s plastic product maker Tenma Corporation.

Phạm Đức Thường, former deputy head of Tax Department of northern Bắc Ninh Province, is among the officials. He signed a decision dated August 2019 to establish a team to inspect Tenma Vietnam.

Four other officials are Nguyễn Đức Tuấn, head of inspection team; Nguyễn Duy Cử, Nguyễn Thị Hoài Biên and Phạm Thị Thanh Tâm, team members.

They have been all suspended from work for 15 days starting from Tuesday, following orders of Minister of Finance Đinh Tiến Dũng.

Six other post-customs clearance officials from Bắc Ninh Province’s Customs Department were also suspended from work for 15 days starting from Wednesday.

They are Trần Thành Tô, head of Bắc Ninh Province’s Customs Department, who signed the post-customs clearance decision; Dương Minh Khải, head of customs management team; Nguyễn Văn Phúc, deputy head of expert division; Vũ Quang Hà, head of expert team; Nguyễn Lưu Bình Trọng, official of customs sub-department of Tiên Sơn Port; and Nguyễn Thị Hảo, official of Bắc Ninh Province Customs Department’s Office.

The case came into the spotlight when Japanese media including Asahi Shimbun newspaper, Kyodo news agency and Nikkei, reported that Tenma Vietnam gave a bribe of JYP25 million (US$232,000) to Vietnamese customs officials.

According to Asahi Shimbun, the Tokyo-based Tenma Corporation confessed 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.

The Vietnamese finance minister requested the Vietnamese general departments of taxation and customs to report to the Ministry of Finance on recent allegations in Japanese media about the bribes paid by Tenma Vietnam to avoid paying corporate and value-added tax.

At the same time, he assigned the ministry's inspection agency to immediately set up an inspection team to examine the Tax Department and the Customs Department in Bắc Ninh Province, where Tenma Vietnam is located.

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has ordered authorised agencies to inspect the case and impose strict penalties on those committing violations in order to create an equal, transparent business and investment climate.

Phạm Thế Tùng, director of Bắc Ninh Province’s police, said the local police asked the provincial tax and customs departments to provide all documents related to import and export activities of Tenma Vietnam since January 2017 until now.

The tax department must report imported tax and value-added tax preferential mechanisms that the company is enjoying.

On the sidelines of the National Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Minister of Public Security Tô Lâm told media that Việt Nam was working with Japan to investigate the allegation.

“The allegation started from the Japanese side so we should exchange information with Japan and work with international partners to inspect the crime,” he said. — VNS