Fuji Xerox New Zealand's parent company estimates $285m losses caused by accounting irregularities

The Serious Fraud Office said last December it would not take action against office products firm Fuji Xerox.
ANDREW GORRIE/STUFF

The Serious Fraud Office said last December it would not take action against office products firm Fuji Xerox.

NZ First has called on the Government to ensure taxpayers are not being ripped off after it was revealed accounting irregularities at Fuji Xerox will cause losses of $285 million for the company.

Japan-based FujiFilm Holdings said overnight it had set up an independent investigation committee to review the appropriateness of accounting practices at Fuji Xerox New Zealand (FXNZ).

These related to certain sales leasing transactions occurring in or prior to 2015 at the New Zealand office products subsidiary.

FujiFilm president Kenji Sukeno in a statement said: "The cumulative impact of FXNZ's accounting practices on past 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 (NZ$285m)".

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Fuji Xerox had in September reported a pre-tax loss of $51m for the year to March 31 and last December the Serious Fraud Office said it would take no action against the company after closing an enquiry into its affairs.

NZ First began putting pressure on the Government and former Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce about the company in October, which Joyce rejected and claimed Peters "completely misunderstands" the case.

NZ First leader Winston Peters said last year his inquiries into the office products firm had revealed serious concerns.

On Friday, he said the news of an internal investigation at Fuji Xerox meant the Government had no choice but to call in the Audit Office to ensure taxpayers were not being ripped off.

He had written to the auditor general in October requesting the same thing.

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"At stake is something very serious because our inquiries reveal such serious concerns with Fuji Xerox that it could involve corruption.

"It now seems that the parent company in Japan suspects the same thing because we all know what 'accounting irregularities' is really short code for."

Fuji Xerox has previously declined to comment on Peters' corruption claims, but Peters said Fuji Xerox had been favoured by the Government.

Documents provided by NZ First said last year, Fuji Xerox were awarded contracts worth $13.5m, while competitors Ricoh received $12.4m, Konica Minolta $8.7m, and Canon $3.2m.

One of Joyce's responses to Peters' questions last year said the company had been paid more than $55m for all-of-government contracts since 2012.

"The more money it lost, $51m last year alone, the more Government contracts that were thrown its way.

"Since minister Joyce was in the seat at the time, the buck stops with him."

A Fuji Xerox spokesman said on Friday it welcomed the investigation and was co-operating fully. 

The company had the full support of its immediate shareholder, Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific, and was meeting all its contractual commitments.

"This investigation has no impact on the current levels of service we offer our customers in New Zealand.

"There is no further comment at this time."

Comment has also been sought from Joyce.

 - Stuff

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