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Tokyo official held over bribery

Metropolitan Police Department officers search the Tokyo metropolitan government building in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, on Tuesday morning.

Publication Date : 05-09-2012


A Tokyo metropolitan government official and an employee of a construction company were arrested Monday over alleged bribery incidents related to public works projects, police said.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, the arrested official is Motohiro Ohata, 49, of Hachioji, western Tokyo, section chief of an engineering office in the metropolitan government's Transportation Bureau, and the arrested employee is Satoshi Kaneta, 50, of Toshima Ward, Tokyo, who works for Kohri Lease Co., a construction firm based in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

The MPD launched searches of 10 locations Tuesday morning, including the metropolitan government's No. 2 building, which houses the Waterworks Bureau, Ohata's former workplace.

According to the MPD, from November 2008 to April this year, when Ohata was working at the Waterworks Bureau, he allegedly leaked bidding information related to projects to build a warehouse to store materials related to post-disaster maintenance, among other violations.

The information Ohata allegedly leaked to Kaneta included estimates of the minimum cost of the projects.

In connection with such favours, Kaneta, who was an acting sales manager at Kohri Lease, allegedly entertained Ohata on 35 occasions from October 2009 to April this year, spending 640,000 yen in total.

It is suspected that Ohata may have been treated to as much as 1.1 million yen worth of wining and dining on 68 occasions at cabarets and other places in Tokyo, the police said.

In 2008 and 2009, the company won bids for four projects with contract prices ranging from 126 million yen to 184 million yen, according to the police.

The MPD said Kohri won the four projects with bids that were 96 per cent to 99 per cent of the estimated minimum prices.

According to investigative sources, Ohata altered the construction plans for three of the projects after the contracts were made to inflate the order prices for Kohri Lease.

Ohata allegedly added about 10 per cent to the initial price of each project, ranging from about 14 million yen to 23 million yen and totalling 53 million yen for the three projects, sources said.

The company also made a contract with the Waterworks Bureau to lease the bureau an office it owns for about 2.2 million yen monthly for two years starting in March last year.

Ohata joined the metropolitan government in 1988. He began working at the Waterworks Bureau in April 2000.

In April 2008, he began overseeing construction planning as a section chief in the bureau's accounting department.

Bureau Chief Atsushi Masuko said, "This situation has damaged the trust of the citizens of Tokyo, and we sincerely apologize for it."


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