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Tokyo: City staffer nabbed in bribery probe

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a staff member at the office of Musashimurayama City for allegedly accepting bribes from a landscaping company in exchange for preferential treatment in the award of contracts, reports (Sept. 26).

On three occasions between June, 2018 and this past January, Atsushi Kano, the head of a road and drainage division, allegedly accepted a total of 200,000 yen in bribes from Tomokazu Oikawa, the president of landscaping firm Niwayoshi.

Last October, Kano leaked to Oikawa information on other companies participating in a tender for the pruning of cherry trees along a bicycle route at a park.

“I borrowed money, but I do not recognize it as bribery,” Kano was quoted in denying the allegations. Investigators raided the city office on Friday.

Atsushi Kano (Twitter)

According to police, five companies bid for work. Niwayoshi made a successful bid of around 2.5 million yen.

Thereafter, the scope of the pruning work was expanded and the contract amount awarded for about 3 million yen, police said.

Between June, 2018 and this past February, the city awarded about 10 contracts for similar work. Police believe that Kano provided preferential treatment to companies in the awarding of those contracts also.

Police suspect that Kano used the money for gambling and living a luxurious lifestyle.