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2008年8月 9日 (土)

前福島知事有罪

(Aug. 9, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Bribery ruling should spur reform

前福島知事有罪 構造的な癒着に厳しい審判(89日付・読売社説)

In return for receiving electoral support in a gubernatorial race, a former Fukushima governor, after winning the election, used his authority to provide favors to construction contractors in connection with the tendering for a public works project financed by the prefectural government.

知事選で支援してもらった見返りに、当選後は知事の権限で業者に県発注工事への便宜を図る。こうした癒着の構造に厳しい審判が下された。

The Tokyo District Court on Friday handed a guilty ruling to former Fukushima Gov. Eisaku Sato for taking bribes from the contractors.

収賄罪に問われた福島県の佐藤栄佐久前知事に、東京地裁は有罪判決を言い渡した。

The court concluded Sato conspired with his younger brother to allow contractors to buy a land parcel owned by a company run by the brother at about 70 million yen higher than the market value in return for having provided favors to the firms over the Kido Dam construction project. Aside from the amount of bribes, the court almost entirely acknowledged allegations made by prosecutors.

実弟と共謀し、ダム工事受注に便宜を図った謝礼として、準大手ゼネコンなどに土地を時価より約7000万円も高く買い取ってもらっていたと認定された。賄賂額以外はほぼ検察の主張通りだ。

The former governor did not personally know the contractors. This is unusual for a bribery case. But the court judged that even if the former governor had no personal contact with the bribe-givers, it could be considered that bribery took place through someone who knew what the former governor wanted.

前知事と贈賄業者には面識がない。贈収賄事件では異例のことだ。だが、接触がなくとも、自らと意を通じた者を介していれば贈収賄にあたると判断された。

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New twist on old trick

(悪しき慣習の根絶)

People close to heads of local governments exert their influence in bid-rigging cases to act on behalf of their leaders. This practice became common after the arrests of Ibaraki and Miyagi governors over bribery cases involving general contractors in 1993. The governors had direct contact with the contractors and received money directly from them.

自治体首長の周辺人物が「天の声」を代弁し、業者の談合を仕切る。そうなってきたのは、1993年のゼネコン汚職事件で茨城、宮城両県知事らが逮捕されて以降だ。知事らは業者と接し、現金を直接受け取っていたからだ。

In the Fukushima case, the younger brother of the former governor acted on his behalf. The younger brother was president of their family's apparel company. But as the company's business became sluggish, it asked contractors to buy land holdings for a higher price than the market value. In return, the brother conveyed to the former governor the contractors' interest in receiving a dam construction work project contract order.

今回、「天の声」の代弁者は弟だった。弟は家業の紳士服会社を継いだが、経営が悪化し、所有地の高値買い取りをゼネコン側に求めた。代わりに、ゼネコン側が受注を望んでいたダム工事について、前知事に話をつないだ。

The bribe money was used to repay outstanding loans of the brother's company. The brother also received "gratitude" money from construction companies on other occasions, and those funds were used for the former governor's election expenses. In Friday's ruling, the brother was found guilty not only of conspiring to receive bribes but also of involvement in bid-rigging.

賄賂は、弟の会社の借金返済などに充てられた。弟の元にはそれ以外にも建設業者から受注の謝礼金が集まり、前知事の選挙資金になっていた。弟は収賄の共犯のほか、競売入札妨害罪(談合)でも有罪となった。

The court ruling said the bid-rigging resulted in a public works project being contract concluded at an inflated price and that part of the profits made by the winning bidders was used for the former governor's election campaign fund as well as reconstruction funds for the brother's company.

判決は、事件の背景として「談合で公共工事が実際より高額で発注され、受注した建設会社の利益の一部が還流して前知事の選挙資金、弟の会社の再建資金に充てられた」と指摘した。

Similar patterns were seen in bribery and bid-rigging cases involving former Wakayama and Miyazaki prefectural governors who were arrested around the same time as the former Fukushima governor.

同時期に逮捕された前和歌山県知事と前宮崎県知事の収賄、談合事件も、似た構図だった。

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Powers come with duties

(責任あっての権限)

The National Governors' Association is continuing work in line with the guidelines to reform tender bidding systems that it hammered out following the scandals. Only 22 of the nation's 47 prefectures put projects with estimated tender value of 10 million yen or more for open bidding. Reform efforts should be strengthened.

全国知事会は、事件当時作った入札改革の指針に基づいて検証を続けている。予定価格1000万円以上の工事を一般競争入札にしているのは、まだ22道府県だ。取り組みを強化すべきだ。

Moves for decentralization have gained momentum.

地方分権に向けた動きが活発化している。

momentum=勢い、はずみ

Governors have strong authority over budget implementation and personnel issues. They thus play central roles in the decentralization movement.

知事は予算執行権や人事権など大きな権限を持ち、地方分権の中心的な担い手でもある。権限がさらに強まれば、責任は一段と重くなる。

When they wield stronger power, they bear even heavier responsibility. Given the latest court ruling, they should again chasten themselves.

今回の判決を機に、改めて襟を正してもらいたい。

wield=権力を行使する、ふるう chasten=懲らしめる、罰する

At the same time, it should be borne in mind that it is assemblies and voters who can monitor and check whether governors are exercising their power appropriately.

同時に、知事の権限行使が適正かどうかを監視し、チェックできるのは、議会と有権者であることも確認しておきたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 9, 2008)

2008890158  読売新聞)

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