Winston Peters reveals failures by Fuji Xerox that went ignored by Government
Winston Peters says his repeated attempts to bring Fuji Xerox's scandal to the attention of the government has fallen on "deaf ears".
The NZ First leader wrote to the Speaker of the House requesting an urgent debate on Tuesday about the impact the Fuji Xerox accounting scandal, causing losses of nearly $500 million for the global company, has had on New Zealand's reputation abroad.
The Speaker, David Carter, declined the request on the basis there was still an investigation underway into the matter.
While the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said in December it wouldn't pursue an investigation, in April it changed tack and said it would consider any new information which might require further action.
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Japan-based Fujifilm Holdings set up an independent investigation committee in April to review the appropriateness of accounting practices in New Zealand.
Peters says the Fuji Xerox scandal is "seriously damaging New Zealand's international reputation" as it continues to be major business news in the United States, Europe, Asia and Japan.
So far Fuji Xerox's chairman Tadahito Yamamoto, deputy president Haruhiko Yoshida and two Fuji Xerox directors, Katsuhiko Yanagawa and Jun Takagi have all resigned.
"This is nothing less than a stain on our country's reputation and demands that serious questions be asked about External Reporting Board standards - a Crown agency - and other public bodies charged with detecting and defeating fraud," Peters said.
"Accounting irregularities at Fuji Xerox NZ went unnoticed over a five year period and this raises serious questions about standards set by the External Reporting Board."
"We are being made to look like a banana republic and this grates when the government ignored repeated warnings from NZ First," he said.
Since October 2016 Peters has written to several Ministers and questioned them in the House about the seriousness of the allegations against Fuji Xerox.
Peters also wrote to former Auditor-General Lynn Provost to raise concerns about Northland schools entering contracts with Fuji Xerox NZ. It was seven months before Provost responded despite FujiFilms of Japan sending forensic accountants into its New Zealand subsidiary a month before her office's reply.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said last week that nothing he had seen to date gave him any cause for concern.
But Peters says the ongoing scandal "further undermines faith in fair procurement processes and raises uncomfortable but necessary questions over the unshaken belief that we are supposedly free of corruption".
"Parliament must take and must be seen to take decisive action," he said.