I have a business based in
my home country in Africa that currently imports materials from China, but I wanted to begin sourcing from the
continent. I went to a neighboring country to negotiate a supply contract.
The owner was very
friendly; he took me on a factory tour and for a wonderful dinner. We met again
for breakfast and he talked about price and minimum orders. His price was 15%
higher but the shipping cost was less; when
I ran the figures through my head, there was still enough margin for my
business. I told him we had a deal and we shook hands.
Then he told me how to
submit the payment. He said to send 25%
of the material cost to his personal account in the UK and not to show that on
the invoice. I had no idea what to say or do! All I could think to say was
that I needed to talk to my accountant to see if that was possible.
I knew what he is asking is illegal. I also know
this is how business is done. I
want to keep my business on the continent when possible. I’ve never encountered this before though and don’t know what to do.
What will happen to me if anyone finds out?