Peters calls for government inquiry into Fuji Xerox

Winston Peters

RELATED AUDIO: Behind the scenes with Karyn Scherer and her investigation of Fuji Xerox (Sep 2016)

0
0:00 0:10

NZ First leader Winston Peters has renewed calls for a government inquiry into Fuji Xerox NZ, following news that it is being investigated by its parent for accounting practices that are expected to cause losses of 22 billion yen ($285 million).

Japan-headquartered FujiFilms said its board has appointed an independent investigation committee to “review the appropriateness of accounting practices related to certain sales leasing transactions occurring in or prior to fiscal year 2015 involving Fuji Xerox New Zealand.”

The announcement follows an NBR investigation last year that raised questions over the local printing company’s $51 million loss for the year to March 2016.

Former staff claim the company has been exaggerating its revenue for many years. They have also questioned its sales tactics, claiming it has been signing up customers with long-term contracts that may appear cheap in the short-term but can be pricey to get out of.

After NBR’s investigation, Mr Peters put pressure on then-Economic Development Minister Stephen Joyce to respond to questions over what has been described as “highly irregular” contracts awarded to Fuji Xerox.

The questions sought information about Fuji Xerox’s government contracts, and how these were handled by the Ministry for Business (MBIE).

It was later revealed MBIE awarded Fuji Xerox contracts worth $55 million in 2016, with one of them being signed just a few days before Fuji filed the massive $51 million loss.

Today, Mr Peters says the government has no choice but to call in the Audit Office to guarantee that taxpayers are not being ripped off.

“At stake is something very serious because our inquiries reveal such serious concerns with Fuji Xerox that it could involve corruption,” he says.

“It now seems that the parent company in Japan suspects the same thing because we all know what ‘accounting irregularities’ is code for.”

He says he has not been satisfied by the “smug dismissiveness” of former Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

“Fuji Xerox has been favoured by this government and the more money it lost, $51 million last year alone, the more government contracts that have been thrown its way. Since Mr Joyce was in the seat at the time the buck stops with him,” Mr Peters says.

“Take the Northland Schools Cluster for example. It has transpired that since signing up, there is a monthly standing charge per machine, schools were signed up to print volumes far in excess of what they previously used and the contract term is an irregular 84-months. Experts say equipment like this should be replaced at 36-months as opposed to what will be old machines well past any depreciation point.”

NBR has put more questions to Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges.

Fuji’s ‘deepest regrets’
In its statement, FujiFilm said, “The cumulative impact of Fuji Xerox NZ’s accounting practices on several fiscal years’ net income as identified to date in the investigation by the internal investigation committee is estimated as a loss of approximately 22 billion yen.”

The Japan-based company said it would postpone its financial results for the year ended March 2017 until the investigation is complete.

The investigation would be done by outside experts with no interests in the company and they will produce their findings next month, FujiFilm said.

“The company expresses its deepest regrets to its shareholders, investors, and other related parties for any inconvenience and concerns caused.”

Last December the Serious Fraud Office called off an investigation into Fuji Xerox and said it would take no further action.

The company has previously dismissed specific claims by former staff and customers as “rumours and innuendo.”

Fuji NZ responds
In a statement, Fuji Xerox says it welcomes the investigation and is fully co-operating.

“This investigation has no impact on the current levels of service we offer our customers in New Zealand. We continue to receive the full support of our immediate shareholder, Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific Pte Ltd and continue to meet all our contractual commitments.

“There is no further comment at this time.”

Australian staff depart
Meanwhile, a number of senior employees have left Fuji Xerox Australia.

Regional leader Masashi Honda has returned to Japan and Isamu Sekine has been appointed president and CEO of Fuji Xerox Asia-Pacific, CRN reports.

Executive general manager Lincoln Glendining, who worked at the company for 15 years, has left, and so has financial controller Rick Schojer, who started in 2008.

Former Australian head Nick Kugenthiran left in 2015 and was replaced by former Fuji Xerox NZ boss Neil Whittaker.

After more than 11 years heading the business here, Mr Whittaker left the Australian division after just 13 months.

Other staff that have recently departed include chief financial officer Devlin Bell, general manager global services Anthony Cogswell and chief people officer Beth Winchester.


12 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.


This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

Post Comment

12 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

And Head Office didn't know what was going on
Yeah right
Just got caught out and now playing good corporate citizen
Also how much tax have they paid in recent years?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Hell, with those kind of losses -- on a micro level -- it's right up there with Enron. If I were the parent, I'd be marching this wayward kid straight behind the woodshed.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

a quick scan of their accounts at the companies office makes that number look extremely high as a percentage of revenue and they are already making losses. Something doesn't add up with respect to the scale of the alleged problem.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Play that boggie wine box...............
Sounds good, no personal effort required etc

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 1

They were using the copiers they claim to have sold to photo copy profits and losses and bonus's

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

So Winnie the (censored) is at it again - must be an election coming up.
Fuji Xerox NZ is being investigated by its parent company, so why does Winnie want us to spent taxpayers' money having a parallel investigation? To get his name in the news?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

It's funny how all the people that were involved and that profited from this, and who have caused people to lose their jobs as a result through redundancy and cost cutting,are no longer working for at Xerox but for working for the competition.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Well done Winnie say what you will the NBR started this and now Winnie is asking questions in the house.

The only more corrupt industry than the copier business is IT so go figure.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 1

If the Serious Fraud Office wont investigate these sorts of crime then the obvious conclusion is that corruption has reached the highest levels in New Zealand and we need some more "raw shark" style whistle blowers to expose this corruption so we can do something about it.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 1

My company first purchased then leased from this company some 20 years ago. Great product but their latest leasing contract we have is not acceptable but can't get out so when expired, We will walk away from Fuji xerox

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

I'm a customer of theirs - service is good, equipment superior. From what I have read, Fuji Xerox has been brought down by Whittaker and his gang. It appears to be a group of people who took advantage of their positions and this company and then jumped ship only for it to catch up with them. As a business owner I can clearly see it's a case of individuals are to blame here not the brand. The end result is a company's reputation is in tatters and good honest kiwis have lost their jobs and will continue to do so. Legally something should happen to these individuals, Fuji Film will look at this I'm sure. I will continue to be a customer and support them as that's what us kiwis do; help eachother to get back up on your feet.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Knowing people who used to work there, it's the most corrupt company I've ever known. I'm sure the whole former senior leadership would be going flatting in Mt Eden for A few years if there was a thorough investigation - one that the SFO surely shouldn't be declining to undertake.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7024 0.0000 0.00%
AUD 0.9316 0.0000 0.00%
EUR 0.6550 0.0000 0.00%
GBP 0.5486 0.0000 0.00%
HKD 5.4643 0.0000 0.00%
JPY 76.5550 0.0000 0.00%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1283.7 2.440 2017-04-21T00:
Oil Brent 52.0 -1.020 2017-04-21T00:
Oil Nymex 49.6 -1.080 2017-04-21T00:
Silver Index 17.9 -0.160 2017-04-21T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 7188.1 7232.8 7188.1 0.13%
NASDAQ 5919.0 5919.2 5916.8 -0.11%
DAX 12032.8 12091.3 12027.3 0.18%
DJI 20578.1 20601.4 20578.7 -0.15%
FTSE 7118.5 7134.5 7118.5 -0.06%
HKSE 24143.0 24190.1 24057.0 -0.06%
NI225 18591.8 18648.3 18430.5 1.03%
ASX 5821.4 5870.4 5821.4 0.56%