KOGA Says! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary
Statement on Gifu Prefecture Slush Fund Scandal
08 August 2006
RENGO’s Statement by General Secretary Koga
- Gifu Prefecture's in-house investigation team revealed its findings on the prefectural slush funds scandal – making money, for example, by claiming fictitious travel expenses, and pooling those illegal funds in a prefectural workers union's bank account. According to the investigation, more than 400 million yen was siphoned and 250 million yen was pooled out of that amount into the union's account, and has already misappropriated 110 million yen. Moreover, the press reported that the investigation team found that officials, not knowing how to dispose of the funds, threw away some of the money in the garbage or burned it. At a press conference today, former Governor Taku Kajiwara categorically denied any tangible involvement although he did know of the existence of the slush funds. On the other hand, Tsuneo Morimoto, Vice Governor at the time and now a Liberal Democratic Party member of the House of Councillors, released a statement saying that he pooled the slush funds into a union bank account without disclosing the matter after obtaining the agreement of former Governor Kajiwara.
- The Gifu Prefectural slush fund scandal seriously jeopardizes its citizen's trust in the local government and it is truly regrettable that the prefectural workers' union was involved in hiding the funds. Furthermore, if the reports of officials burning or disposing of funds, which were taxpayer’s money, are true, then these acts are outrageous and unspeakable for any workers engaged in public service. Currently, a "pooled funds investigation committee" consisting of third party member is reinvestigating the matter. RENGO strongly demands that Gifu Prefecture and the prefectural workers union not only disclose the full details relating to this incident and swiftly return the entire amount of the slush funds, including the misappropriated portion, but also that they clarify where responsibility for this scandal lies.
- This case, after slush fund problems in local governments came to national attention in 1995, has not been dealt properly that time but hidden and was brought into the open. RENGO urges other local governments to conduct thorough investigations to see whether issues as those in Gifu exist and, if there are any problems, to promptly take necessary measures.